Devonta Freeman’s agent mentioned prior to the Falcons Super Bowl appearance that Freeman wanted a long-term deal from the team. Freeman and his agent reiterated those feelings this offseason, but Thomas Dimitrioff stood strong, stating the Falcons would not make a deal this offseason. The two-time pro-bowler could have opted to holdout the start of the offseason, but opted not to make his contract situation bigger than the team. He is locked in an focused for the 2017 season as he told reporters he wants to be more “disrespectful” with his football play.
Football players around the league should take note of how Freeman is handling his contract situation. He is overdue for a pay raise yet has not let that consume him. The former Florida State Seminole has been a star since taking over the starting position two years ago. His commitment to the brotherhood is admirable, but that does not mean this marriage will continue for much longer.
Freeman said Wednesday to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, “I want to be the best… I want to be elite paid. Whatever that is, that’s where I want to be.” His agent said Freeman deserved to be paid like a top-3 running back prior to the Super Bowl. While those were not Freeman’s words, it is clear he feels the same way and deservedly so. Freeman has catapulted himself into the conversation of the NFL’s best running back, but the Falcons are going to have a tough decision on whether to re-sign him this offseason.
The Falcons already signed the likes of Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford to significant deals. They do not have a ton of cap-space moving forward and still have a multitude of players they will want to extend in the future. Matt Ryan, Vic Beasley Jr., and Jake Matthews are just a few players outside of Devonta Freeman that are going to be looking for contract extensions with healthy pay raises.
The Falcons can only pay so many players, and when taking an even deeper look, it only makes sense that Devonta Freeman will be in a different uniform next season. The Falcons already have another explosive running back in Tevin Coleman who is entering his third season. Coleman had a breakout year both running the ball and catching the ball out of the backfield last season. Atlanta also just spent a 5th-round pick on Brian Hill out of Wyoming. Hill might not have an immediate impact on the team, but he does not need to. If he and Coleman experience serious progression this season, it is hard to imagine the Falcons coughing up the money to re-sign Freeman.