A few days ago, it was reported the Falcons are likely to move on from Devonta Freeman, whether Post-June 1st cuts are allowed or not, which would save the team $3 million in 2020 (assuming Post-June 1st cuts are not allowed). Once regarded as one of the league’s top running backs, his production has fallen off a cliff the past two seasons due to a multitude of reasons, but primarily because of injuries. It’s about time the Falcons find fresh legs at the position anyway and given their current cap situation, $3 million can go a long way. This decision is not a simple one, but it looks like it has the approval of the owner, Arthur Blank.
Here is what he had to say to ESPN’s Vaughn Mcclure regarding Freeman’s future with the team:
“Well, I love him, too,” Blank said of Freeman. “But this has nothing to do with love. It has to do with building a roster. The salary cap is not unlimited. It seems like it’s unlimited, but it’s not. And the investments we have made — which have been very, very substantial with a wide variety of players on both sides of the ball — have been significant. So personnel, and coach, and [team president] Rich McKay, they’ll be looking at everything and making sure we’re making investments in the right areas based on what the roster has to look like going forward.”
Blank’s 100% correct from the business side of things. The salary cap is not unlimited, the Falcons are not in an envious position when it comes to cap space, and several gut-wrenching decisions will have to be made. The irony in all of this is — while he seems to have a full understanding of what is going on — if he really had a clue, Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn would likely be out the door.
Before last year’s trade deadline, the Falcons reportedly decided to pass up on a trade that would have sent Devonta Freeman to the Lions. The intricate details of the potential deal were never revealed, so perhaps the Falcons would have had to attach a draft pick or something to go along with him, but that is not how it sounded via the report. It almost seems as if Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff kept Freeman for their own personal gain — hoping they could save their jobs in the second half of the season — knowing it was not in the best interest of the team’s long-term goals. The Falcons could have saved much more money in 2020, and perhaps received some sort of compensation, had they dealt Freeman to the Lions.
There is no disputing Arthur Blank is a committed, involved, and fantastic owner. But like so many owners around the league, if they understood what was going on behind closed doors, GMs would be fired left and right. Not trading Devonta Freeman to save your job only to cut him in the offseason is a fireable offense in itself, on top of all the other fireable offenses this regime has tallied up over the years.