During Super Bowl week, there was the strangely timed story of Devonta Freeman wanting a new contract so he could be paid like an elite back.
Freeman just had to wait a few months for the Atlanta Falcons to take care of him.
Freeman signed a five-year extension, the team said. Multiple reports including Vaughn McClure of ESPN said the deal is worth $41.25 million. The total value of that deal is now tops among all running backs, according to Spotrac, surpassing LeSean McCoy’s $40 million deal with the Buffalo Bills. When Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers signs his franchise tender, he’ll have the highest average salary for running backs.
While it’s usually not a good investment to give long deals to running backs, Freeman is a key piece of the Falcons’ attack. Last year he had 1,541 total yards from scrimmage with 15 touchdowns and averaged 4.8 yards per carry. He is only 25 years old and the Falcons manage his carries well by using backup Tevin Coleman a lot, so there shouldn’t be any fear of Freeman wearing down anytime soon. Also, his deal at a little more than $8 million per season isn’t oppressive for the Falcons on the salary cap.
The Falcons made a run to the Super Bowl last season with a great offense and an improving defense. They want to keep the pieces of that NFC championship team together as long as possible, and a big part of that was making sure Freeman was happy.
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