At this point, we’re taking the Falcons at their word that Devonta Freeman is going to get a contract extension, given that they’ve signaled their intent loudly and clearly. The next, inevitable question concerns what that contract is going to look like.
We know that Freeman isn’t (at least publicly) expecting the kind of deal Le’Veon Bell is chasing as the NFL’s premier workhorse back. We also know that he’s going to want some security, making a 4-5 year pact an obvious goal for both sides. What we can ascertain by looking at contracts for premier backs around the NFL is that it also isn’t going to be particularly cheap, though running backs still get far smaller contracts than quarterbacks, receivers, pass rushers, and top cornerbacks, to name a few positions.
Today, Freeman’s producing at a level that is definitely top ten in the NFL. If we throw away Bell’s $12 million franchise cap hit for this season, we come away with an annual average per contract in the top ten of about $6 million, though just seven backs make more than that amount. You can bet your ass or whatever other part you’re not overly attached to that Freeman wants $6-plus million per year, and it’s impossible to argue that he doesn’t deserve it.
If the Falcons can lock down Freeman for four years, $26-$28 million, he’ll be in the neighborhood of Lamar Miller, who is one of the best paid and most talented backs in the NFL. That won’t break the bank for Atlanta, even with numerous other contracts coming in, and would likely keep Freeman around long enough to break every franchise rushing record you can think of, assuming good health. That would be a win for both sides, and I imagine the final deal will end up in that range.
What say you?