Falcons officially release running back Devonta Freeman

Falcons running back Devonta Freeman leaves with a smile after a win.
Falcons running back Devonta Freeman leaves with a smile after a win.

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Running back Devonta Freeman was officially released by the Falcons on Tuesday.

"Certainly would like to thank Devonta for six great years with our organization," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. "He's been a solid member of our team, both on and off the field."

Freeman averaged a career-low 3.6 yards per carry last season.

Freeman had three years remaining on his contract and was set to receive base salaries of $6.5 million in 2020, $6.3 million in 2021 and $8.2 million in 2022.

The Falcons will save $3.5 million in salary-cap space.

Freeman, 28, was asked about his future with the Falcons at the end of the season. He seemed to know the writing was on the wall.

“Whatever happens, happens,” Freeman said. “I’ll just control what I can control and whatever happens, happens. I haven’t really dived in that far. We just have to see. I can’t answer that.”

Freeman, who missed three games with a foot sprain last season, said he was otherwise physically fine when he rushed 184 times for 656 yards and two touchdowns. He caught 59 passes for 410 yards and a career-high four receiving touchdowns.

Freeman seemed to be a better fit in former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s outside zone scheme. The Falcons didn’t run as much outside zone last season under offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Freeman had two spectacular seasons in 2015 and 2016, but after signing a new contact in 2017, his production tailed off.

Here’s a look at where things stand with the Falcons’ potential unrestricted and restricted free agents:

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS 

OFFENSE 

Kenjon Barner, running back
Matt Schaub, quarterback – Club picked up his option, according to his agent.
Justin Hardy, wide receiver - Will not re-sign with team
Austin Hooper, tight end – Allowed to leave and joined the Browns  
Matt Simms, quarterback 
Keith Smith, fullback – Was re-signed to a three-year deal on Saturday, March 14. 
Wes Schweitzer, offensive guard/center – Allowed to hit the market and will sign with Redskins
Ty Sambrailo, tackle - Released by the team on March 16
Devonta Freeman - Cut by the team on March 17

DEFENSE

Vic Beasley, defensive end/linebacker – Was not re-signed and is joining the Titans 
De'Vondre Campbell, linebacker – Will be allowed to hit the market 
Adrian Clayborn, defensive end 
Jack Crawford, defensive tackle
Johnathan Cyprien, safety
Tyeler Davison, defensive tackle - Agrees to three-year deal 
Ra'Shede Hageman, defensive tackle – Waived by the team on Jan. 13
Kemal Ishmael, safety/linebacker – Will not be re-signed by Falcons 
Steven Means, defensive end - Re-signed to a one-year contract on March 9
Sharrod Neasman, safety 
Jamar Taylor, cornerback 
John Wetzel, offensive lineman – Vested veteran contract terminated and then re-signed
J.J. Wilcox, safety 
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, cornerback
Desmond Trufant - Released by team

SPECIAL TEAMS 

Matt Bosher, punter 
Ryan Allen, punter – Signed to a one-year contract extension for $945,000 on Feb. 18
Sam Irwin-Hill, punter – Signed to a one-year contract worth $510,000

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS 

OFFENSE

Brian Hill, running back

DEFENSE

Michael Bennett, defensive tackle

SPECIAL TEAMS 

Younghoe Koo, placekicker – Signed a one-year contract extension for $660,000 on Feb. 18.

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