Devonta Freeman

Eagles Haven’t Made Offer To RB LeSean McCoy

While the Eagles are reportedly “open to the idea” of bringing back LeSean McCoy, it doesn’t sound like they’ve seriously pursued the veteran running back. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (via Twitter) that Philly hasn’t made an offer to their former Pro Bowler.

However, the Eagles have (or, at least, did) make offers to other veteran running backs. McLane notes that the organization made an offer to Carlos Hyde, who has since signed with the Seahawks. The organization also made an offer to Devonta Freeman, who is currently weighing his options.

We heard last week that there was some mutual interest in an Eagles/McCoy reunion. The running back spent six seasons in Philly between 2009 and 2014, earning three Pro Bowl trips and two First-Team All-Pro nods. Of course, the Eagles wouldn’t be getting that version of McCoy in 2020; despite starting 22 games for the Bills and Chiefs over the past two years, the veteran has only compiled 979 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 262 carries.

On the flip side, the Eagles probably wouldn’t be expecting a whole lot of production out of the 31-year-old (32 in July). Instead, he’ll be a mentor in a relatively young running backs room, a grouping that’s currently led by Miles Sanders and Boston Scott.

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Devonta Freeman: I’ve “Got 10 More Years In Me”

Over the weekend, there was talk of Devonta Freeman potentially sitting out the 2020 season and speculation that he could consider retirement if he does not find a deal to his liking. On Monday night, Freeman set the record straight in a tweet that he deleted moments later (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com). The family-friendly portion of the message that we can share here: “I got ten more years in me. Kill that fake retirement [stuff]!” 

Freeman talked with the Jets and Eagles in recent weeks and turned down a one-year, $3MM offer to join up with the Seahawks. It’s unlikely that he’ll land a deal to match his last one – a five-year,$41.25MM deal with an average annual value of about $8MM – but he’s aiming for something in between. Only trouble is, there aren’t a ton of teams that are desperate for RB help at this stage of the offseason and Freeman’s stock has taken a tumble.

In 2018, Freeman was limited to just two games. Last year, he managed to play in 14 of the Falcons’ 16 games, but he looked like a shell of his former self and averaged just 3.6 yards per attempt.

Roughly three years ago, Freeman became the second-highest paid running back in the NFL on an annual basis, behind only the franchise-tagged Le’Veon Bell. As a reminder of how quickly things change in this league – the league’s other leaders in compensation in 2017 were LeSean McCoy and Doug Martin. McCoy may be on the cusp of a bargain basement deal to return to the Eagles and Doug Martin has not played a down since the 2018 season.

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Devonta Freeman Willing To Skip 2020 NFL Season

So far this offseason, Devonta Freeman hasn’t been able to find a deal to his liking. If that doesn’t change between now and the fall, the running back is willing to sit out the entire 2020 season, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

In theory, the 28-year-old could easily walk away – he’s earned upwards of $24MM and he’s got plenty of spectacular performances to look back upon. Retirement, however, is not a consideration for Freeman at this time, Rapoport hears.

Freeman’s drawn interest from the Seahawks, Jets, and Eagles since being released by the Falcons. And, just recently, Seattle tried to sell him on a one-year deal worth $3MM – he said no, prompting Pete Carroll & Co. to turn to Carlos Hyde. The Eagles may still be a fit for Freeman, Rapoport posits, despite the presence of Miles SandersBoston ScottCorey Clement, and the newly-signed LeSean McCoy. Ditto for the Jets, who are looking to fortify the group behind Le’Veon Bell. Ultimately, it’ll come down to dollars and Freeman would rather stay patient than slash his price here in May.

Last year, Freeman appeared in 14 games for the Falcons but averaged just 3.6 yards per tote on 184 carries. Meanwhile, Football Outsiders placed him just 41st among 43 running backs in success rate. In 2020, Freeman is hoping to redeem himself and get closer to the form he exhibited in 2016, his last Pro Bowl campaign. In that season, Freeman ran for 4.8 yards per try and scored 13 all-purpose touchdowns.

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Seahawks Submit Final Offer To Devonta Freeman?

The Seahawks’ interest in Devonta Freeman may have hit a tipping point. They have submitted a final offer to the longtime Falcons running back, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports.

Freeman, however, is not prepared to accept the proposal, Condotta adds. The Seahawks’ desire to add a veteran to their backfield remains, though, leading the team to potentially circle back to Carlos Hyde.

A potential Seahawks-Freeman partnership surfaced Wednesday. The team is believed to have offered the two-time Pro Bowler a one-year deal worth $3MM. Freeman has also generated interest from the Eagles and Jets, and the 28-year-old back may well be holding out for more money. The Falcons released Freeman earlier this offseason. He was previously attached to a deal worth more than $8MM per year.

The Seahawks appear prepared to move on to talks with Hyde, Condotta adds. The former 49ers second-round pick has bounced around the league but is coming off his first 1,000-yard season. Seahawks interest in Hyde emerged earlier this week as well. While the six-year veteran is coming off a much better season than Freeman, he may be a cheaper option.

Both of Seattle’s top backs — Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny — went down with injuries near season’s end, leading the team to bring back Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks have not ruled out another Lynch contract. This running back interest stems from uncertainty surrounding Penny’s status. The third-year back is not certain to be ready for camp after suffering a knee injury late last season.

Jets, Eagles Interested In Devonta Freeman

Devonta Freeman‘s market is heating up. The Seahawks have reportedly offered the veteran back a one-year deal, and the Jets and Eagles have also expressed interest in adding Freeman, per Mike Silver of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Seattle is proposing a pact in the $3-4MM range, so New York and/or Philadelphia would likely need to top that figure in order to land Freeman. On the other hand, Freeman has already collected nearly $25MM in his NFL career, so he could be searching for the right role instead of the highest salary.

If that’s the case, the Eagles are arguably the best destination for Freeman. Miles Sanders is slotted in as Philadelphia’s top back, but Freeman could augment a backup group that also includes Boston Scott and Corey Clement. Freeman isn’t the only veteran option the Eagles have considered, as they’ve also discussed Carlos Hyde.

The Jets, meanwhile, don’t have an open role for Freeman, at least on paper. Le’Veon Bell will take the majority of the work both in the rushing and passing game, while Frank Gore is around to soak up any non-Bell carries.

In addition to Freeman and Hyde, other free agent backs still available include Lamar Miller, LeSean McCoy, Theo Riddick, and Alfred Blue.

Seahawks, Devonta Freeman Discussing Deal

The Seahawks are showing interest in one of the NFL’s best remaining free agents. They’ve made an offer to running back Devonta Freeman, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM reports (via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times). However, they’re not aligned on dollars, and the Seahawks are holding their ground for now. Seattle is offering a one-year deal with a base value of less than $3MM and a maximum value of up to $4MM, tweets Mike Silver of NFL.com.

[RELATED: The Top Remaining Free Agents In The NFL]

The Seahawks’ interest in Freeman is partially due to Rashaad Penny‘s knee injury. Penny is unlikely to be available for the start of training camp and Caplan hears that his Week 1 availability is in question. Beyond Penny, the Seahawks also have Chris CarsonTravis Homer, and fourth-round pick Deejay Dallas on the depth chart.

Seattle believes Carson will be good to go this year and feels big things are in store for Homer after he averaged 6.3 yards per carry as a rookie. Still, they could use more help at RB and Homer’s impressive showing came in a limited sample size of totes.

Freeman, 28, appeared in 14 games for the Falcons in 2019 but averaged just 3.6 yards per carry on 184 attempts. Advanced metrics weren’t any more complimentary of Freeman’s performance, as Football Outsiders ranked him just 41st among 43 running backs in success rate.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks have also discussed a reunion with Marshawn Lynch. There’s likely only room for one of the two vets in Seattle.

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Top Remaining Free Agents

While most of the top free agents in this year’s cycle have long since signed with new clubs, there are plenty of potential difference-makers still available. Those players remain on the market for various reasons — price tag, injury concerns, etc. — but they all could be a key factor in the fortunes of whatever team they ultimately join. Let’s take a look at the best of who’s still out there:

  1. Jadeveon Clowney: If you think you’ve been reading a lot about Clowney over the past couple of months, you’re right. That’s what happens when a former No. 1 overall pick and a young dynamic talent is still up for grabs this late in the offseason. Clowney’s high asking price, originally said to be $20MM per year, certainly scared some teams off, as did his recent core muscle surgery. Some will also point to his relatively low sack totals as evidence that he is not the dynamic pass rushing force that he believes himself to be. But he undeniably has the chops to be a game-changer against the run and pass, and he is content to wait for the right situation to come along. Once teams have the opportunity to evaluate him themselves, his market should heat up rapidly.
  2. Cam Newton: Here’s another former No. 1 overall pick that we have written a great deal about recently. Like Clowney, the 2015 MVP may be signed by now if interested teams could have their own doctors examine him, and Newton is willing to be patient and wait for that to happen if waiting will allow him to secure a starting gig somewhere. But at this point, it looks like only an injury or major underpeformance will open the door for a QB1 role in 2020, so he may have to settle for a top backup job for now and hit the free agent market again in 2021. He is reportedly warming to that idea.
  3. Everson Griffen: Like Clowney, Griffen is a talented pass rusher, but unlike Clowney, Griffen has multiple double-digit sack campaigns under his belt. The 32-year-old posted eight QB takedowns in 2019, and it is a little surprising to see him unsigned this late in the process. A reunion with the Vikings may be in the cards, and the Seahawks are the only other club to be connected to Griffen at this point.
  4. Jason Peters: The only reason Peters isn’t signed yet is because of his age (38). He turned in a typically terrific season in 2019, and he has been connected to a number of clubs over the past couple of months. The problem is, many of those teams have filled their needs at the offensive tackle spots, so even though Peters has said that he is willing to play on the left or the right side, his options are now more limited. The Chargers could still be in play, and another year with the Eagles may also be a reality.
  5. Logan Ryan: Unlike several of the players ahead of him on this list, Ryan doesn’t have any notable health concerns, but his asking price — he’s seeking around $10MM per year — could be depressing his market. He turned in a productive 2019 season with the Titans and has the versatility to move around the defensive backfield, which has apparently led to multi-year offers. Given the need for quality corners in today’s game, Ryan will likely land a lucrative deal soon, it just may not be as lucrative as he wants. The Jets and Dolphins are involved in the bidding.
  6. Markus Golden: Golden enjoyed what appeared to be a breakout season with the Cardinals in 2016, posting 12.5 sacks in just his second year in the league. But injuries limited the edge rusher over the 2017-18 seasons, and he had to settle for a one-year prove-it deal with the Giants in 2019. He perhaps thought that he proved it, recording 10 sacks for Big Blue, but those 10 sacks came from just 26 total pressures, which is probably an unsustainable conversion rate. So far, only the Giants — who put the rarely-used UFA tender on Golden — have been publicly connected to him.
  7. Devonta Freeman: We haven’t heard a peep about the two-time Pro Bowl running back since the Falcons released him in March. The fact that Atlanta replaced him with Todd Gurley and his frightening injury concerns isn’t a good sign, and Freeman’s 3.6 YPC average in 2019 certainly isn’t helping matters either. Freeman’s own injury problems limited him to two games in 2018, so he is now two years removed from his last effective season. It’s nonetheless a bit of a surprise that there have been no rumors of interest in his services.
  8. Delanie Walker: The best tight end left on the market, Walker has battled injuries over the past two seasons and will turn 36 in August, so it makes sense that we haven’t heard too much about him lately. But while he may not be a TE1 anymore, he could still be a useful weapon in the passing game, and he also has a history of being a strong blocker. The Colts, Packers, and Redskins were said to be interested in him in March, and those teams continue to look like good fits even after the draft. The Ravens, who rely heavily on TEs and who traded Hayden Hurst to the Falcons this offseason, also make some sense.
  9. Eric Reid: The 28-year-old safety turned in what appeared to be a strong year in 2019, starting all 16 games for the Panthers and posting a career-best 130 tackles. The problem is, he may have had so many tackle opportunities because he allowed over 77% of throws in his vicinity to be completed. Still, he is an experienced and generally solid back-end defender, and the Texans — who employ his brother, Justin Reid seem like a logical fit.
  10. Darqueze Dennard: Dennard, a former first-round pick of the Bengals, thought he had a deal with the Jaguars in March. But Jacksonville backed out of the deal, and while there was no word on why that happened, it could be that health concerns made the Jags skittish. Dennard missed the first few weeks of the 2019 season due to a knee procedure, but he did play every game from Week 10 forward and graded out well in terms of Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. He has been Cincinnati’s primary slot corner over the past several seasons, but there has been no reported interest in him since the failed Jaguars pact.

Falcons To Release Devonta Freeman

Up against the 2020 salary cap, the Falcons will cut their longtime starting running back. They will move on from Devonta Freeman before the tampering period begins, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets

This previously rumored move will not be especially beneficial, though. The Falcons will eat $6MM in dead money by releasing their starting back of the past five seasons. A Freeman release would move Atlanta under the cap, however.

The Falcons will save around $3MM in cap space by releasing him outright. The Falcons have been mulling the possibility of moving on from Freeman for a while now – in October, they strongly considered dealing him to the Lions and other clubs in need of RBs.

Freeman was set to play out the rest of his five-year, $41.25MM deal. Signed in August of 2017, it made him one of the league’s highest-paid RBs. Unfortunately, it did not pan out – Freeman was unable to stay healthy and appeared in just two games in 2018. Last year, he played in 14 contests, but averaged just 3.6 yards per tote.

The Falcons are now charged with having to remake their backfield. As of this writing, they’ve got Brian Hill and….not much else. Many expect the Falcons to target their RB of the future in the draft since they’re lacking in cap flexibility.

NFC Notes: Falcons, Quinn, Freeman, 49ers

Falcons coach Dan Quinn managed to save his job by rattling off some wins down the stretch last year. If his team has a repeat performance in 2020, he won’t be so lucky. It’s the consensus of just about everyone that Quinn will be fired if Atlanta doesn’t get things turned around next year, and Falcons owner Arthur Blank more or less confirmed as much in recent comments to the media. Blank wouldn’t divulge the exact number of wins he was expecting, but he did say “yep,” when asked if making it back to the postseason was the standard he was setting, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “I can definitely say that’s right.”

Blank went on to say some nice things about Quinn and the team’s turnaround in the second half of the season, but it’s clear that Quinn will be on a short leash. Just about everyone thought he was a goner before the Falcons finished the year 6-2, so perhaps he’ll pull a rabbit out of his hat once again. The former Seahawks DC fired both of his coordinators after a lackluster 2018 campaign, and it didn’t help much right away. Matt Ryan is already 34 and Julio Jones is 31, so Blank’s impatience makes a lot of sense as he wants to capitalize on the core that took his team to the Super Bowl just a few short seasons ago.

Here’s more from the NFC as we head into the weekend:

  • We heard earlier this week that Falcons running back Devonta Freeman could be on the chopping block, and Blank certainly didn’t do anything to quash that story. “Well, I love him, too,” Blank said of Freeman in McClure’s same piece. “But this has nothing to do with love. It has to do with building a roster. The salary cap is not unlimited.” That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, and that doesn’t bode well for Freeman’s chances of sticking on the roster. “Sure, I love what [Freeman] brings to the team. I also know we’ve drafted well and we’ve got some really good backups now today. We’ll see how all that works out,” he continued. Freeman has three years left on the five-year, $41.25MM pact he signed with Atlanta a couple years ago, and he seems increasingly unlikely to be back with the team in 2020. As of right now, it looks like the team will be moving on. The Falcons can save around $3MM against the cap by releasing him, but they’d still be taking a significant dead cap hit by shedding his expected $6.5MM salary.
  • 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander tore a pec in November, and was expected at the time to miss the remainder of the season. He improbably battled his way back with remarkable speed, and ended up being activated off injured reserve for San Francisco’s playoff run. Not only was Alexander dealing with the pec issue, he also played in the playoffs and the Super Bowl with a significant bicep injury that required surgery, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapsheet reports that Alexander underwent the procedure on his bicep Friday, and will make a full recovery for the 2020 season. The 49ers signed him to a big contract last offseason, and he’s one of their leaders on defense. This kind of grit shows why. Alexander has been bit by the injury bug recently, as his 2018 season in Tampa was cut short by a torn ACL. Hopefully he can stay healthy this year as San Francisco gears up for another run.

Falcons Could Move On From Devonta Freeman

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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