The Atlanta Falcons appeared to make a choice at running back last year, when they signed Devonta Freeman to a big contract. Teams simply don’t pay multiple running backs big money in the year of our Julio Jones 2018, and thus it looked like Tevin Coleman would be heading to free agency in 2019, or possibly even traded away.
Thomas Dimitroff spoke to 92.9 The Game recently about Coleman, however, and once again threw cold water on the possibility of the team recouping some draft picks for their gifted young back. Per Vaughn McClure:
“We are not considering trading Tevin Coleman, period,’’ Dimitroff told Kamla. “He’s an important part of this organization. And our focus is on this upcoming year, and trade is not in our thought process.’’
This makes all the sense in the world, frankly. The Falcons have been a successful offense in recent years because of their array of weapons, and Coleman remains one of the most dangerous ones they’ve got. The Falcons have Freeman set as their lead back, yes, but he’s coming off an injury-marred season and isn’t quite as explosive with the ball in his hands as Coleman, even if he’s the more well-rounded and proven back. Breaking up the tandem for draft picks, which is presumably what would be on the table for Coleman, would impact the offense adversely in 2018. That’s not what this team needs, not after a sometimes anemic showing in 2017.
The thought that the team might keep Coleman around after 2018 deserves a little more skepticism, of course. Dimitroff mentioned that during his end of season press conference, arguing that the team could find a way to keep both, but that would involve Coleman either taking below market value or the team cutting corners elsewhere to make room for two backs. I’m not going to tell you that’s impossible, per se, but it still feels unlikely. Might as well keep hope alive until it’s not possible to do so, however.
So the upshot here, if you’ve read this far, is that Coleman will be here and will be a significant piece of the offense once again in 2018. His status with the Falcons beyond this year is a very open question, but hopefully the Falcons will find a way to keep both him and Freeman around.