Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman isn’t going anywhere. Take a deep breath, count to three, and step away from the panic button. Yes, I know training camp starts next week and the Falcons still haven’t extended Freeman. And yes, I know we all figured a deal would be done by now.
Freeman’s agent, Kristin Campbell, made it clear back in February that she wanted the team to address Freeman’s contract situation this off-season. His $690k base salary is admittedly well below his market value, and he’s entering the last year of his rookie deal. It’s a logical time to address his contract. (It’s also when the Falcons like to extend players.) Ever since, every time it comes up, the refrain from Flowery Branch has gone something like, “we want him here, couldn’t imagine life without him, the deal will get done, probably before training camp.” That said, here we are, six days before training camp, and there’s been no extension.
This is what Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio had to say about the situation earlier today:
All signs have been pointing to a long-term contract for Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. But with no deal happening, maybe it’s time to re-read the signs. Maybe Freeman, who is a year away from the open market or the franchise tag (which currently outpaces market value), has decided to roll the dice. Maybe he’s willing to go year to year, like other star players facing the tag may be doing.
No disrespect to Florio, but for several reasons, I wholeheartedly and emphatically disagree.
First, take note of the deafening silence from Freeman’s camp. No threats of a holdout, no public airing of grievances, no Twitter rants from Luther Campbell. Kristin Campbell had no problem using media day at the Super Bowl to lobby on behalf of her client. But she’s silent now? And Freeman is silent now? Yes, they are, because they know more than we do, and they aren’t worried.
Second, I have a hard time disregarding all the positive chatter over these last several months. The team has consistently affirmed their confidence in getting a deal done. Owner Arthur Blank was on 92.9 The Game last month reiterating that sentiment, talking about how he was texting with Freeman. Setting aside your shock that Blank texts, there’s no doubt the team is negotiating in good faith.
The bottom line is this: Freeman is not Le’Veon Bell. He’s entering his contract year and the Falcons definitely don’t want him to reach free agency, nor do they wan to hit him with the franchise tag.