The Atlanta Falcons came through quickly for Devonta Freeman after promising a big extension. NFL Network’s Mike Silver is reporting that the starting running back signed a five-year contract extension on Wednesday to remain with the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The deal is worth $41.25 million with an average annual salary of $8.25 million. It also makes him the highest-paid running back in the NFL.
Devonta Freeman and the Falcons have agreed to a five-year contract extension that makes him the NFL's highest-paid running back @nflnetwork
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) August 9, 2017
Devonta Freeman Signs Five-Year Contract Extension
Freeman has been a very respectable and humble individual in the NFL, but he has to be beaming from this achievement. Earning this contract will fuel Freeman with even more confidence, because he is not a player to settle. The NFL has seen him transform into a beast.
Smaller running backs have an advantage over defenders so at 5’8″, Freeman’s size problems weren’t physical. The expectations for Freeman didn’t match his intensity. However, after a forgettable rookie season and two games into his second year, his opportunity arrived. All he needed was one game.
Freeman blew into the NFL spotlight after gashing the Dallas Cowboys for 141 yards and three touchdowns in AT&T Stadium on September 27, 2015. The 30 carries he received in that game remain a career high. He passed his test with flying colors, and the Falcons have found that he is one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL.
For two straight seasons, Freeman has passed the 1,000 yard mark and also scored 11 touchdowns in each year. His yards per carry average jumped up from 4.0 to 4.8, largely due to the zone blocking scheme implemented by former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. The now 49ers head coach also brought in Pro Bowl center Alex Mack who led the resurgence of the running game. Freeman has reaped the benefits first, but the lightning to his thunder should be getting paid soon as well.
Tevin Coleman had a disappointing rookie season in 2015 due to injuries, but he has bounced back and claimed his role. Freeman is the lead back, and brings a more patient style when he uses his excellent vision to make the zone reads. Coleman brings one-cut, straight line speed and power that compliments Freeman extremely well. The dynamic running game combined with the nearly unstoppable aerial attack explains their historic season.
Freeman has climbed over his obstacles fairly easily, which is a testament to how talented, determined and hungry he is. The Super Bowl meltdown by the Atlanta Falcons has to still sting. Freeman has earned this huge payday, but the young running back remains hungry for a title.