The Atlanta Falcons are going to have some tough decisions when it comes to shaping the team and salary cap this offseason. It sounds like Devonta Freeman could be one of the first to get cut for salary cap relief.
The rumors surrounding Devonta Freeman’s imminent exit started to really swirl when Ian Rappaport, of The NFL Network, stated the Falcons might be looking to get out from under Freeman’s cap hit next season. Freeman is due to 6.5 million next season. If the Falcons do decide to cut him, the team would have around 3 million to use in other areas of the roster. With Freeman turning 28 before the start of next season, the Falcons are weary of declining production and an injury-history that has followed Freeman for most of his NFL career.
This morning, Vaughn McClure, of ESPN, released a blog where he spoke to Arthur Blank, and Devonta Freeman’s name was mentioned. Blank stated, “Well I love him, too. But, this has nothing to do with love. It has to do with building a roster. The salary cap is not unlimited”. Arthur Blank may have just hammered the final nail in Freeman’s coffin.
Freeman’s exit shouldn’t come as a shock to many Falcons fans. There was a rumor last season, from Ian Rappaport, that the Falcons had a trade offer from the Detriot Lions for Freeman. Atlanta would go on to turn that offer down, choosing to finish the season with Freeman as their primary running back. With all the news this week, it seems like Freeman may have run the ball for the Falcons for the last time, whether he knew it or not.
When the Falcons signed Freeman to his long-term deal, it seemed like a no-brainer for Atlanta. In August 2017, when Freeman signed his deal, the running back was coming off back-to-back seasons of over 1500 yards from scrimmage. He was a threat running and catching the ball while providing a great two-headed attack along with Tevin Coleman. However, injuries and Coleman’s eventual exit saw Freeman’s numbers take a big hit. This past season, Freeman rushed for 656 yards and had 1,066 yards from scrimmage. A running back his size, and age is very unlikely to produce like he was a few seasons ago.
If Freeman is cut, he will join Vic Beasley as the Falcons move on further from their Super Bowl run. It’s the end of an era, a window, that saw the Falcons come as close as you can to win a Super Bowl. Instead, the Falcons now have to face their mistakes, Beasley and Freeman, and move on from those mistakes. Devonta Freeman was a very productive running back for his time in Atlanta. Now, it’s time to move forward without him.