We now know that Devonta Freeman played with an injury Saturday against the Eagles, which probably helps to explain his anemic performance almost as much as the matchup does. We also knew he was hoping to avoid surgery courtesy of Vaughn McClure at ESPN, but that’s an open question at this point.
This is not a new report, per se, but it’s something we didn’t really address in the heat and light that followed that game. Freeman just wrapped up a season that could be considered disappointing by his lofty standards, and that was primarily driven by injuries. Free suffered two concussions and then MCL and PCL sprains, and it’s only because he’s a genuine warrior on the field that he was even out there to end the season. When he was healthy, he ran hard and he ran effectively, and he caught the ball well. Injuries and a handful of mishaps like missed blocks and receptions were the only major sour notes until Saturday, when Free got nothing going running while Tevin Coleman rolled up nearly 80 yards on outside runs.
Freeman just received a lucrative contract extension that made him the highest-paid back in the NFL, and his production and youth completely justified that. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t concerned about Free now that he’s suffered multiple concussions, and I’m hopeful if he needs surgery he gets it quickly so he can be ready to go for the start of the 2018 season. With Tevin Coleman hitting free agency after this upcoming season, it’s going to be a pivotal year for both backs, and the Falcons’ offense is only going to be great again if both backs are healthy and effective in the first place.
Keep an eye on Freeman’s status this spring, and we’ll cross our fingers that these injuries prove to be a blip on the radar.
When Devonta Freeman signed a five-year, $41.25 million extension last offseason, it seemed like a clear sign that the Falcons were choosing Freeman long-term over their talented backup Tevin Coleman.
Not the case.
According to Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the organization is confident it will be able to re-sign Coleman as well when he comes up for an extension, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.
“I believe you could realistically do it. … I think, again, it comes back to an earlier question when you’re talking about looking at all the different spots on the roster and what you can do to create the space,” Dimitroff said.
Many teams opt to let high-priced free agent running backs walk, mostly because of the abundance of them coming out each year in the draft.
Freeman is a former fourth-round pick and Coleman is a third-rounder, showing that teams can find capable players without breaking the free agency bank or using a high pick.
With Arthur Blank as owner, Dimitroff knows he will have support when it comes to shelling out the dough required to keep Coleman.
The question isn’t whether the Falcons want to keep Coleman, it’s whether Coleman wants to remain Atlanta.
As a player that’s extremely talented with limited wear and tear on his body since he’s played only in a backup role, Coleman could be very appealing to any team looking for a starting running back in free agency. And he likely can make more signing somewhere else rather than staying with the Falcons.
Atlanta could roll the dice again and attempt to find another complementary back to pair with Freeman in this year’s draft, but they’d rather lock up Coleman and keep their dynamic duo intact.
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