Falcons owner Arthur Blank is confident that the team will reach a contract extension with Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman “fairly soon.”
Blank commented about Freeman’s contract situation while making an appearance on The Dukes and Bell Show on 92.9 The Game, the team’s flagship radio station, on Monday.
“As far as number 24 is concerned, I think Freeman, actually he just sent me a text the other day about something,” Blank said. “He’s the kind of person that you want to have on your team for all the right reasons. He’s a great player. He’s a great individual. He cares about community. He cares about his teammates. He’s very responsive to good coaching. There’s nothing about (Devonta) Freeman that I don’t love.”
General manager Thomas Dimitroff is in discussions with Freeman’s Miami-based agent, Kristin Campbell.
“I know that Thomas is working hard with him and his agent,” Blank said. “I feel very confident that we’ll be able to work out something with him for a long-term solution fairly soon I think.”
The Falcons top offseason priority was working a deal to retain cornerback Desmond Trufant. The team reached a six-year, $68.75 million deal with Trufant in April.
“It’s just a matter of time and you can’t do all of these big deals all at once,” Blank said. “Not even for financial reasons, but they take time. Each one takes a fair amount of work from a research standpoint. There is a lot of (negotiating).”
Blank didn’t seem to hold any ill will toward Freeman or Campbell for bringing up the extension talks during the Super Bowl week.
“I think the relationship we have with the player is critical,” Blank said. “It was with Desmond and it will definitely be that way with Devonta and it will be that way in the future with any of our other players as they come up.”
Freeman, who has out-performed his rookie contract and fourth-round draft status, has a market value of $10.1 million per year, as determined by the salary-cap website spotrac.com.
Freeman is set to make $1.8 million in 2017, the last year of his rookie contract.
At the completion of minicamp, Freeman was looking forward to landing the new deal.
“It’s that feeling when you know something special is coming and you’re about to be blessed,” Freeman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently. “It’s just an exciting moment in time for me right now.”
Freeman and Dimitroff don’t see any murky contract-negotiation clouds coming.
“I’m not rushing it, and I’m not impatient,” Freeman said. “I’m just trying to make sure that my business is right as far as being in the best shape of my life. Being healthy, stronger, faster and being better at the same time.”
Freeman has put together back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons. He had 227 carries for 1,079 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns last season. He also caught 54 passes for 462 yards and two touchdowns.
In his breakout 2015 season, Freeman rushed 265 times for 1,056 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also caught 73 passes for 568 yards and three touchdowns.
“I’m just a firm believer that everything is going to get handled at the right time,” Freeman said. “Right now, it’s not like I’m in a bad situation. I’m not hurting for money. This is the most I’ve had in my life.
“I have a great management team to help me manage my money. Help me save and do the right things and stuff. We’re good.”
The Falcons are $ $8,588,895 million under the salary, according to the NFLPA public salary-cap documents.
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