Report: Jaguars Among Teams That Have ‘Previously Expressed Interest’ in Devonta Freeman
The Jacksonville Jaguars haven't been shy about adding veteran talent to their roster this offseason, including at running back. But according to one report, there was one other veteran offensive free agent the Jaguars have at least done their homework on.
According to a report from Michael Silver of NFL Network, the Jaguars are among the teams that have "previously expressed interest" in free agent running back Devonta Freeman. According to Silver, the Jaguars were also joined by the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles in terms of some interest in the veteran back.
The Jaguars have already signed one veteran running back this offseason in former Washington running back Chris Thompson, a favorite of new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. Silver doesn't indicate when the Jaguars had interest in Freeman, while the former Atlanta Falcon does remain a free agent through mid-July of the offseason.
It does make sense for the Jaguars to explore as many options as possible at the running back position, however. Leonard Fournette was dangled in trade talks this offseason and those rumors will likely not go away until after this year's trade deadline. Behind him is Thompson, who is more of a passing game back, and second-year backs Ryquell Armstead and Devine Ozigbo who, while talented, are unproven.
The Jaguars liked their backfield depth enough to not draft a running back with any of their 12 selections in April, though it remains to be seen if the Jaguars value Thompson, Armstead and Ozigbo over other veteran options.
"I think maybe it's misunderstood of how we feel about the other guys we have in our room besides Leonard and Roc(quell Armstead) and Devine (Ozigbo). And those are two guys that as you look down, you start to get into the fourth, fifth round, and you're like, ‘Do we like these guys better than Rock and Devine?’ And the answer is really no," general manager Dave Caldwell said following the draft.
"So we felt like we had some guys that can make the team at other positions and come in and help right away and knowing that we have those two guys that we really like.”
Freeman was drafted by the Falcons out of FSU in the fourth-round (No. 103 overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft. He would go on to spend six seasons in Atlanta, with the vast majority of those seasons featuring him as a core piece of the offense and rushing attack, earning two Pro Bowl invites in the process. In recent years, however, Freeman has struggled with injuries and consistency in his performances.
In six years in Atlanta, Freeman rushed 951 times for 3,972 yards (4.2 average) and 32 touchdowns, along with 257 receptions for 2,015 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 2019, Freeman rushed 184 times for 656 (3.6 average) and just two touchdowns in 14 games, while he appeared in two games in 2018.