Report: Devonta Freeman Being Cut by Falcons to Save $3M+ Against Salary Cap

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IMarch 16, 2020

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 22: Devonta Freeman #24 of the Atlanta Falcons warms up prior to an NFL game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons reportedly decided to move on without running back Devonta Freeman

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the team will release the veteran while saving $3 million against the salary cap.

Rapoport foreshadowed this move on Feb. 12, noting that the Falcons would save about $3 million in salary cap by releasing Freeman:

Rapoport had reported last October that the Detroit Lions "heavily discussed" a trade for Freeman with Atlanta prior to last season's deadline, but the Falcons did not want to move on from their 2014 fourth-round pick at that time. The organization must not have been able to find an adequate trade partner.

The 28-year-old back was owed a $6.5 million base salary in 2020, per Spotrac, with $21 million remaining on his contract over the next three seasons before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

Releasing him saves the Falcons significant money overall, although he still comes with a $6 million cap hit for 2020.

The Florida State product put together back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2015 and '16 with 11 rushing touchdowns in each of those campaigns. His 11 rushing touchdowns led the league in 2015. However, Freeman's production has dropped off in recent seasons. 

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Freeman was limited to just two games in 2018 because of a bruised knee, foot injury and ultimately a groin injury that required surgery and placed him on injured reserve.

Last season, Freeman bounced back with 656 yards and two touchdowns on 184 carries along with 410 yards and four touchdowns on 59 catches across 14 games. His 3.6 yards per carry average was the lowest of his career. That said, Atlanta's rushing offense ranked 30th in the league as the Falcons stumbled to 7-9.

Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison remain under team control at running back, or the team could look to add another option this offseason.

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