Falcons to have contract extension talks with Freeman

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Falcons to have contract extension talks with Freeman

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January 29, 2017, Houston: Falcons fullback Patrick DiMarco and running back Devonta Freeman arrive at George W. Bush Intercontinental Airport for the Super Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Houston. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

The Falcons are set to have contract extension talks with running back Devonta Freeman this offseason.

Freeman, who has been selected to two consecutive Pro Bowls, wants a contract extension.

“Remember my job is to advocate for my client and I will always advocate for my client,” said Kristin D. Campbell, Freeman’s agent in a phone interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I had a conversation with Thomas Dimitroff, and we are on the same page. This is something we’ll address in the offseason.”

Freeman, a fourth-round pick in the 2014, rushed for 1,056 yards in 2015 and 1,079 last season. He’s also had 22 rushing touchdowns over those two seasons.

Freeman caught 73 passes in 2015 and 54 last season and added five more receiving touchdowns.

Campbell believes that Freeman should be paid like one of the top three running backs in the league.

Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson is top paid running back with a contract average of $14 million followed by Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles $9.05 and Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy at $8 million. Freeman’s average is $676,000, which ranks 80th in the league.

“Who was the last running back to go to back to back Pro Bowls?,” Campbell said. “Adrian Peterson. Adrian is considered one of the most prolific backs of the past 10 years, wouldn’t you say?

“They don’t give out Pro Bowls. I think they are earned and a player that has earned a spot is considered reputable at his position. He has earned his spot, first ballot, two of the three years that he’s been in the league. Fortunately, he’s been a part of this prolific offense that the Falcons have.

“I think there is an arguable case.”

One problem that Freeman will face is that he’s basically in a time-share situation with Tevin Coleman, who was a third-round pick in 2015.

“That’s something that Dimitroff and I will discuss,” Campbell said.

Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan believes that Coleman helped Freeman, who seemed to wore down in 2015 trying to carry the full load.

“I think the thing that’s helped Free the most is Tevin staying healthy because Free had to carry the load most of last year and I think it wore him down a little bit,” Shanahan said. “Being able to keep Free fresh and Tevin in there, I think both of them make each other better.

“Both are very good backs and would love to do it all. But the more you wear down, the more this game gets to you. It’s hard to keep that explosiveness and quickness through the year. I think the more each can play, the more it will help their careers. I think it shows up each Sunday and I think it’s what’s got them playing best ball in Week 16 rather than Week 4.”

Freeman discussed his contract situation with NFL media.

“I’ve got a family to feed, and I don’t want to struggle anymore,” Freeman said. “Now, I can see it, feel it, taste it. But I’ve got to finish strong and not think about the money this week — we’ve got too much to play for.

“After that, well, I feel like I’ve done my part. Now, hopefully, I’ll get rewarded.”

Freeman is in the third year of a four-year rookie deal worth $2.7 million.

The NFL has been slow to reward running backs in recent years.

Washington let Alfred Morris go last season after he rushed for more than 4,700 yards over four seasons. They felt that he could be replaced with another young and cheaper running back.

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