Falcons owner Arthur Blank said that while he loves RB Devonta Freeman, they have a roster to build and don’t have unlimited cap space to do so, implying that Freeman could be a cap casualty.
“Well, I love him, too,” Blank said of Freeman, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN. “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.”
Ian Rapoport reported recently that the Falcons are considering making a move to release Freeman.
Rapoport added the Falcons were in talks to trade Freeman to the Lions at the trade deadline last year, so it would not be a surprise if they went ahead and moved on.
Freeman hasn’t been able to stay healthy and Rapoport says the Falcons are weighing reallocating cap space to other parts of their team. Falcons TE Austin Hooper is a notable unrestricted free agent for Atlanta this offseason.
The Falcons could save about $3.5 million in cap space and clear his salary from the books, though it would come with a $6 million dead cap hit, per Over The Cap.
Freeman, 27, is a former fourth-round pick of the Falcons back in 2014. He was in the final year of his four-year, $2.7 million contract when he and the Falcons agreed to a five-year, $41.25 million extension that included $22 million guaranteed.
Freeman stands to make base salaries of $6.5 million and $6.3 million over the next two years of the agreement.
In 2019, Freeman appeared in 14 games and rushed for 656 yards on 184 carries (3.6 YPC) and two touchdowns to go along with 59 receptions for 410 yards receiving and four touchdowns.