Devonta Freeman is a good example of how quickly things change for a running back.
In 2015 and 2016 Freeman was a Pro Bowler, a versatile and explosive back for the Atlanta Falcons who scored 11 rushing touchdowns in each of those seasons. Now he’s looking for a job deep into the NFL offseason.
Freeman is just 28 years old but has been hit with injuries the past few years and hasn’t reached 1,000 yards rushing since that second Pro Bowl season in 2016. He is likely to land somewhere despite the delay and three teams are reportedly interested, including one odd suitor.
Three teams interested in Devonta Freeman
The Seahawks seem to be the most serious team in the mix. They have offered Freeman a contract worth less than $3 million in base salary but it can be worth up to $4 million with incentives, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM Radio said.
Seattle is looking for some running back depth with Rashaad Penny coming off a season-ending knee injury and Chris Carson coming off a hip injury. Carson is expected to be ready for the start of the season but the same might not be true for Penny. Freeman would be an experienced backup option who could start if Carson has a setback.
The Eagles have a need too, and have been linked to Carlos Hyde as well. Miles Sanders is the likely starter but the Eagles often use multiple backs and don’t have another between-the-tackles option.
The Jets? That’s curious.
Jets among Freeman suitors
Le’Veon Bell is in the second year of a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the Jets. His base salary is $8.5 million. Jets coach Adam Gase might not have liked the deal — or can get enough out of Bell, one of the best backs of this generation — but it doesn’t seem to make much sense to pour more resources into a veteran backup. With most teams refusing to spend big on running backs, the Jets appear set to double down. If Freeman signs cheaply, maybe that makes some sense.
Freeman and Hyde are two intriguing options in a free-agent market with more good players than usual waiting to sign. Neither one would be an every-down back anymore, but could contribute in the right scenario.
It’s not easy to be a free agent this offseason, and especially at running back. At least Freeman has some options.
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