The Falcons are heading into a pivotal offseason. Dan Quinn managed to save his job at the last minute with some wins down the stretch, but if he doesn’t get the team back to their winning ways in 2020 he’ll almost certainly be getting the boot.
Atlanta unsurprisingly appears ready to shake things up in the coming months, and at least one big name is on the chopping block. Running back Devonta Freeman‘s status with the team is “up in the air,” and release is an option, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter video link). As Rapoport points out, the Falcons could save around $3MM in cap space by releasing him outright. We heard back in October that the Lions and Falcons discussed a potential Freeman trade after Kerryon Johnson went down, and Rapoport now reports they “very strongly” considered trading him last year.
Freeman is set to earn a base salary of $6.5MM in 2020 with a cap hit of $9.5MM, and the Falcons would take a significant dead cap hit even though they’d also save some money. He inked a five-year, $41.25MM deal back in August of 2017, making him one of the league’s highest-paid running backs, and so far it hasn’t worked out too well.
He has struggled to stay healthy, appearing in only two games in 2018. Freeman, who turns 28 next month, has three years left on his deal but seems very unlikely to make it to the end of the pact. If he were released, the two-time Pro Bowler wouldn’t have too much trouble finding a new home. The Falcons have Brian Hill and very little else behind him, so they could be a candidate to draft a running back early come April if they do move on from Freeman.
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