The Atlanta Falcons, coming off a massively disappointing 7-9 season (saved face by winning six out of their last eight), head into NFL free agency ranked 29th in the league in estimated cap space, according to Spotrac. Devonta Freeman will eat up 9.5 million of that precious cap, a hefty amount for an aging running back.
Turning 28 in March, Freeman missed almost all of 2018 due to injury, and although he was able to play 14 out of 16 games in 2019, his productivity was at a career low 3.6 yards per carry. If the Falcons elect to release the former fourth round breakout that helped them reach a Super Bowl, it would cost a dead cap hit of six million, which would save a cool three and a half that could come in handy later on.
If Freeman hits free agency, the veteran still has skills that make him desirable to contenders. He may not be a bell-cow rusher anymore, but Devonta remains one of the more experienced pass-catching backs in the league with over 2,000 career receiving yards and a 79.6 percent catch average during his tenure. Here are some teams that would be a good fit, if available.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ronald Jones finally showed some signs of life under Bruce Arians' offense last season, but he made notable mistakes as a pass blocker picking up blitzers that seemed to infuriate the coach at times. With unrestricted free agent Peyton Barber never panning out as anything more than a low yards per clip rusher with little upside, the Bucs could let him walk and finally upgrade this position once and for all. They will have loads of cap space available in 2020, edging the Miami Dolphins by a nose, so they could afford to spend a few bucks on a running back (not that it would cost too much). Freeman's ability as a pass-catcher and experience as a blocker would also be right up Arians' alley.
2. Los Angeles Chargers
One place Devonta Freeman could latch on as a "starter" is in Los Angeles. The Chargers are facing a re-branding of sorts this off-season, as they have just decided to part ways with Philip Rivers. The same will likely occur with free agent Melvin Gordon, especially after last season's holdout. Austin Ekeler has proven he can lead this backfield, but even so, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn (a former RB's coach) will likely bring in more of a first down rusher to team with the scat-back. This could be a solid tandem for the Chargers in 2020, and one that would cost much less than re-signing Gordon.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
Many expect the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to draft a young talented running back to pair with Patrick Mahomes this off-season, but let's say they go defense or another position instead. Shady McCoy is set to hit free agency and he really didn't factor in any of the Chiefs' playoff success. I know coach Andy Reid and McCoy have a history in Philadelphia, but as a similarly cheap veteran who can spell Damien Williams (club-option eligible) and catch passes in this heavy-throwing offense, Freeman would be a younger, bounce-back option to contemplate.
Join FanDuel Sportsbook Today. New users get a risk-free bet up to $500. Join Now.
Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.