Former Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is prepared to sit out the season if he doesn’t get a contract offer he likes, according to NFL insider Michael Silver. Silver posted on Twitter that the running back believes he’s worth more than he’s been offered so far. Silver added that if Freeman doesn’t get a deal he feels he’s worth, he’ll skip the 2020 season. The analyst also said he feels it’s unlikely the former Falcon is going to get a better offer than the one he reportedly turned down from the Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle had thought to be close to signing the running back but talks “hit a standstill” about a week ago, according to Scott Polacek of Bleacher Report. When those talks reached a reported impasse, the Seahawks moved on to former Houston Texans Carlos Hyde. Polacek said Hyde will almost certainly serve as injury insurance for the Seahawks. The team’s other running backs, Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson, are both coming off season-ending injuries.
The analyst believes the “insurance” role is one the Seahawks envisioned for Freeman before he reportedly turned down their offer. Polacek said he thinks the running back is overvaluing himself based on what he did in the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
In 2015, Freeman ran for 1,056 yards and 11 touchdowns while also catching 73 passes for 578 yards and another three TDs. He followed that up with 1,079 yards and another 11 touchdowns on the ground. He also caught 54 passes for more than 460 yards and two touchdowns through the air. That performance helped the Falcons reach the Super Bowl. In 2017, Freeman’s performance started to slip as he only managed 865 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. He was still a weapon through the air out of the backfield, catching 36 passes for 317 yards.
In 2018, Freeman’s injuries limited him to just two games, and 2019 was the worst full season he had since becoming the Falcons‘ starter. At first glance, the running back was still productive. He only ran for 656 yards, but he still caught 59 passes for 410 yards. Despite that yardage, he averaged a career-worst 3.6 yards per carry. After the season, the Falcons allowed him to depart as a free agent.
Freeman is only 28 years old. If he sits out the season, he wouldn’t necessarily be considered old in 2021 at age 29. Polacek thinks the running back could still have a couple of years of prime production in his legs. The holdup is that no team is offering the player a contract he believes is fair. With the change in the NFL’s preseason schedule, he still has some time to find a team and get ready for the season.