Falcons owner Arthur Blank said during an interview with 92.9 The Game that he’s “confident” that they’ll have a long-term deal in place with RB Devonta Freeman at some point soon.
“As far as No. 24 is concerned, I think Freeman — actually just sent me a text the other day about something — he is the kind of person you want to have on your team for all the right reasons,” Blank said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN. “He’s a great player. He’s a great individual. He cares about the community. He cares about his teammates. He’s very responsive to coaching. There’s nothing about Devonta that I don’t love.
“And I know that Thomas is working hard with him and his agent (Kristin Campbell). I feel very confident that we’ll be able to work out something with him for a long-term solution, fairly soon I think. It’s just a matter of timing. You can’t do all these big deals all at once; not even for financial reasons but they take time. … The relationship we have with the player is critical. It was with Desmond (Trufant). It will definitely be that way with Devonta. It will be that way in the future with any of our other players as they come up.”
All indications have been that the two sides would like to get an agreement in place before the start of the season, but it’s possible Freeman and his representatives could be waiting to see what happens with Steelers franchise RB Le’Veon Bell before getting serious about negotiations.
One way or another, Bell figures to be the highest-paid running back, so it would make sense for Freeman to have an idea what his salary is before agreeing to a new deal.
Freeman, 25, is a former fourth-round pick of the Falcons back in 2014. He’s currently in the final year of his four-year, $2.7 million contract and stands to make a base salary of $1.838 million for the 2017 season before testing the open market as an unrestricted free agent next year.
In 2016, Freeman appeared in all 16 games for the Falcons and rushed for 1,079 yards on 227 carries (4.8 YPC) to go along with 54 receptions for 462 yards receiving and 13 total touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 11 running back out of 62 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding a new contract for Freeman as the news is available.