It is no secret Devonta Freeman wants to be paid. The two-time pro-bowler has been arguably the best running back in the league over the past two seasons and is entering the final year of his rookie contract that will pay him about $1.8 million dollars. Despite being in this situation, Freeman has not allowed it to affect the team. He has gotten back to work without a holdout or any extra baggage, as the Falcons look to complete the goal they came so close to accomplishing last season.
The first rumblings of Freeman wanting a contract extension occurred just prior to the Super Bowl, and his agent continued those concerns throughout the summer. Falcons general manager, Thomas Dimitrioff, did not take long to let Freeman and the rest of the world know a deal would not be happening this offseason. Freeman shot down any ideas that this would affect the team or the way he approaches his game. He has waited patiently, and now, it looks like that patience is going to pay off.
“It’s that feeling when you know something special is coming and you’re about to be blessed,” Freeman said Thursday, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s just an exciting moment in time for me right now.”
From those words, it sounds like a deal with pro-bowl running back may be imminent, but do not be surprised if it does not happen before the start of the season. The Falcons are in control here. Although, it would be understandable if the organization had change of heart because of Freeman’s commitment to the team rather than his contract.
Nobody knows what is going on behind closed doors, but Freeman’s optimism towards the situation is promising. Both sides have stated they want to remain together, however, the Falcons did draft a third running back in the 5th round this season. Brian Hill broke all sorts of records at Wyoming and will be joining the already electric backfield of Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Hill has more of a downhill running style and could be utilized in short-yard situations and around the goal-line.
With so many young impact players on the roster, the Falcons are going to have a lot of these decisions going forward. Freeman has certainly earned a hefty pay day, but his desire to be paid as an “elite” running back may still prove troublesome. These decisions come with success, and Atlanta is going to have to make the tough choices on some of these free agents and let them go. If the Falcons decide to extend Freeman, there is a small chance they are going to want to pony up and pay Coleman when he is due for a raise, making it extra interesting to see if Coleman will step up and become the guy this season, or if Devonta Freeman shows this is just the beginning of what could be a potential Hall-of-Fame career. The good news is Atlanta has an embarrassment of riches, and that is never a bad thing.