Falcons ensure roster stability with Freeman contract extension

The potential biggest distraction of Falcons' training camp never really left the station.

The team reached an agreement on a five-year contract extension with Devonta Freeman. The life of the contract would be worth $41.25 million, but that's somewhat NFL funny money. The details that matter: $15 million signing bonus, $22 million guaranteed (53 percent) and $26 million in the first three seasons.

So it's effectively a three-year extension beyond this season (through 2020).

But here's what's most important: The Falcons have done an impressive job of locking up their valued players over the past two years and Freeman's deal falls in line with that. Among those signed to extensions for at least three more seasons (through 2019): Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu,  Alex Mack, Ryan Schraeder, Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford.

Nothing ensures a team's success but roster stability goes a long way, and the Dan Quinn-Thomas Dimitroff regime continue to excel in that area. It's rare bliss in the front office of an Atlanta pro sports team.

Freeman was only the 103rd players taken in the 2014 draft (fourth round). He has easily outperformed his four-year, $2.7 million rookie contract He was entering the last year of that deal and many NFL players in his situation either don't report to camp and make a lot of noise when they get there. Freeman did neither, and for that the Falcons should be thankful.  The negotiations have contrasted what is going on in Pittsburgh, where running back Le'Veon Bell has rejected an extension and has yet to report to camp or sign his $12.1 million franchise tender.

Freeman's contract could make things tight for the Falcons down the line, particularly when it comes to talks with No. 2 back Tevin Coleman, whose rookie contract runs through 2018 and therefore likely will be seeking a new deal after this season.

But that's a problem for tomorrow. The Falcons have eliminated their potential biggest off-the-field problem of today.

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz
Jeff Schultz
Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.