Update: What's Next for Former FSU RB Devonta Freeman?
June 5 Update:
In the last few months the free agency period has seen a lot of movement but all was quiet on the Freeman front until the last two weeks. There were rumors about the former ‘Nole landing in Philadelphia or Seattle, but nothing came of it. The most recent development comes from Tampa Bay, Bruce Arians, and the running back himself.
Arians was recently asked about signing Freeman and he had this to say: "He's asking for a lot of money and we don't have a lot of money."
The former FSU star responded on Twitter to the Bucs head coach:
Freeman has also mentioned holding out until he gets what he’s worth. We’ll update this story as it develops, check back here with us at All Seminoles.
In 2017, former Florida State star running back Devonta Freeman had just signed a 5-year, $41.25 million contract that made him the highest paid running back in the NFL. Not too bad for a third-round pick that many had doubts about ever even seeing the field in the NFL.
Freeman had certainly earned this deal, as he was an important piece to the Falcons Super Bowl run, but it was almost as soon as the ink was dry the injuries began to pile up. These injuries kept Freeman off the field, and when he was playing, he would share the load with other running backs.
Earlier this week the Falcons decided they would be cutting ties with the player who was on his way to Super Bowl MVP if his team had held on (this is normally where someone would make a 28-3 joke, but I'll refrain.) This doesn't come as surprise though, as the writing seemed to be on the wall half-way through the 2019 season. With his time in Atlanta in the rear view, let's take a look at the possible destination spots and next step in the former FSU running back's NFL career.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Out with one 'Nole and in with another? Maybe. As Jameis Winston's time in Tampa comes to an end, his national championship teammate could be headed into town to take hand-offs from Tom Brady. The Bucs have needed a viable running game for a long time, and Freeman not only provides that but another weapon for Brady in the short passing game. This move makes a lot of sense and would give Freeman the chance to show his old team they made a mistake twice a year. Ronald Jones doesn't seem to be an answer and Tom Brady has seen first hand just how dangerous Freeman can be.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have cut ties with Todd Gurley and now he's on board with Freeman's old team in Atlanta, could this lead to a trading places scenario? It's definitely a possibility. The Rams look to be in a small re-build as they dump a lot of those Super Bowl run contracts but they still have Jared Goff and he needs a solid running threat to take pressure off of him. If fully healthy, Freeman could play the exact same role in Los Angeles that he would in Tampa by also being a really dangerous short passing option.
There's a good chance the Dolphins make a lot of these types of lists this off-season with a promising head coach, a lot of cap space and various needs across the board. The other really cool thing about this would be a homecoming for Freeman. He grew up in the area and likely had visions of being a 'Cane, but former FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher got on him before anyone else during the recruiting process. So this one is more about the story than the fit; the Dolphins found some answers at running back late last season, but a return to the 305 isn't out of the question either.
The Cardinals traded away former running back David Johnson to Houston and currently have breakout star Kenyan Drake, but this would be a really nice soft landing spot for Freeman. He could provide a 1-2-3 punch on the ground with Johnson and Kyler Murray. He may not be the feature back in the desert, but he could end up having a career resurgence in the potentially potent Cardinals offense.
Like the Dolphins, the Redskins will be on a lot of these lists this off-season. Darius Guice is already on the roster, but we've yet to see a fully healthy version of him. Adrian Peterson seems to be on his way out, so this would be a perfect landing spot for the former 'Noles RB. It could also set up a potential reunion with a certain quarterback who's now on the market (Winston). They just recently signed D.J. McKissic to a deal, so this may be unlikely, but you can never have too many good options.
The Lions need a lot of help, even though Bo Scarbrough seems to be an answer for the franchise. Adding Freeman to the mix could make for a potent 1-2 punch that takes pressure off Matt Stafford-- or whomever the quarterback is by that time. Freeman is also familiar with running on turf for home games.
Best of the Rest
The franchises listed above are my most likely candidates to land Freeman's services but they aren't the only ones. The Green Bay Packers are looking for a more consistent option at the position should they decide to part ways with Jones and Williams. The Cincinnati Bengals will likely be looking to take some pressure off their newly drafted franchise quarterback. The Seattle Seahawks had to go back to Marshawn Lynch well toward the end of last year, so adding Freeman to liven up the position makes a whole lot of sense. Last but not least, the Kansas City Chiefs. The defending Super Bowl champions could certainly be in the mix to add a running back with a few of their options also being free agents. Wherever Devonta Freeman lands, he's looking to prove he still had a lot of tread left on the tires.