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Arthur Blank doesn’t sound optimistic about Devonta Freeman returning to Falcons in 2020

“This has nothing to do with love. It has to do with building a roster.”

Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons find themselves in an offseason where they’re a bit strapped for cash and looking for ways to secure some. One increasingly likely move the Falcons can action is parting ways with running back Devonta Freeman, which would free up about $3.5 million.

Vaughn McClure of ESPN recently spoke with Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank about the likelihood of Devonta Freeman returning in 2020.

“Well, I love him, too,” Blank said. “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.”

“How it’s going to affect one individual player, I have no idea. Sure, I love what [Freeman] brings to the team. I also know we’ve drafted well and we’ve got some really good backups now today. We’ll see how all that works out.”

This is the latest in a series of comments, rumors, and reports that indicate that Freeman may be on his way out of Atlanta, with Ian Rapoport reporting yesterday that the team is currently weighing that decision.

Freeman will turn 28 in March and stands to make base salaries of $6.5 million and $6.3 million over the next two years of his contract. As mentioned above, cutting Freeman would free up about $3.5 million but would also come with a $6 million dead cap hit. It sounds increasingly likely that the team moves on from Freeman, as they possibly attempt to re-sign tight end Austin Hooper, who is headed towards free agency.