Interest in former Falcons RB Devonta Freeman has picked up significantly over the past couple of weeks. Atlanta released Freeman on March 16, and there were no public reports of interest in his services for some time, but the Jets, Eagles, Seahawks, and Buccaneers have recently kicked the tires on the two-time Pro Bowler.
Seattle ultimately filled its RB need by signing Carlos Hyde. The club submitted a one-year, $3MM pitch to Freeman, but when he did not sign, the Seahawks pivoted to Hyde, who landed a one-year pact worth up to $4MM with incentives. Philadelphia and Tampa have yet to pick up a veteran RB to add to their stable, and unless Freeman’s asking price comes down, he will not be joining up with the Bucs.
Tampa head coach Bruce Arians says his club would have interest in Freeman if his price tag wasn’t so high (Twitter link via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times). The way he phrased that statement is interesting, because an earlier report from Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Enquirer suggested the Bucs had made an offer to Freeman, who was considering that proposal along with one he received from the Eagles. Arians’ statement today implies that Tampa either never made an offer or else is not willing to further engage until Freeman lowers his demands.
The Bucs were rumored as a potential landing spot for an RB upgrade earlier this offseason, as their depth chart is currently topped by 2018 second-rounder Ronald Jones, who had an up-and-down season in 2019 after a disastrous rookie campaign. GM Jason Licht has expressed confidence in Jones, but the team was looking for a pass-catching back to complement him, and Licht did pick up two RBs in the draft: Ke’Shawn Vaughn (third round) and Raymond Calais (seventh). Freeman profiles as a potential upgrade for a team that suddenly has Super Bowl aspirations.
For his part, Freeman recently shot down rumors that he is considering sitting out the 2020 season. He appears to be aiming for a 2020 payout closer to the one that he was scheduled to receive from the Falcons (about $8MM), but that’s likely not coming his way, as he is now two years removed from his last effective season.
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