The trade deadline, as it is often in the NFL, was all smoke with no fire. The Falcons had a handful of players they could have or tried to move, but no deals could be reached.
One name that wasn’t mentioned in many rumors was Devonta Freeman. He has had a quiet year in Dirk Koetter’s offense following a 2018 in which he barely played, resulting in a $41.25 million contract that is nearly impossible to move – or so we thought. Apparently, the Falcons had a taker; they just could not come to an agreement before the 4:00 deadline.
An intriguing would-be trade that was heavily discussed over the past week, but didn’t end up happening: #Falcons RB Devonta Freeman to the #Lions. DET inquired, the sides talked about a possible deal at length, but ultimately, Atlanta just decided they didn’t want to trade him.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 30, 2019
If true, this is beyond perplexing. Freeman looks like he’s lost a step out there and hasn’t been worth his contract since he signed an extension. The Falcons are staring a rebuild in the face and desperately need to find places where they can shed salary so they can retool their entire team. Before this news, he seemed like a prime candidate to be one of Atlanta’s post-June 1st cuts. Now, I have no idea where this organization’s head is at.
Perhaps the decision-makers still believe Freeman is a valuable piece to the future. Then again, the ones making the decisions now probably won’t be making the decisions in a couple of months, which makes this even more infuriating. The Falcons could have shed salary, sent Free to a better situation, and perhaps even picked up some compensation as well. Now, whoever is in charge next offseason might end up cutting Freeman, losing out on a few million, and wasting one of their post-June 1st cuts.
Make no mistake about it – when a team underachieves by this much – it starts from the top down. The Falcons are a mess on the field because they are discombobulated in their front office.