As the NFL becomes more of a passing league, veteran running backs are finding it more difficult to get paid when they hit the open market. Just a few years after Le’Veon Bell sat out in 2018 over contract demands, another Pro Bowl running back could do the same this year.
More than two months after being cut by the Atlanta Falcons, star running back Devonta Freeman remains a free agent. After turning down the Seattle Seahawks, who moved on to Carlos Hyde, Freeman could reportedly be prepared to sit out the 2020 season.
According to NFL Network’s Michael Silver, Freeman isn’t happy with the offers he received this offseason and is willing to skip the upcoming season over the matter. The Seahawks reportedly offered him a one-year deal worth approximately $4 million, the same offer Hyde signed, and Freeman turned it down.
Freeman, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, is just a few years removed from consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in Atlanta. While the 28-year-old has struggled with injuries in the past two years, he has averaged 4.2 yards per carry in his career and accounted for nearly 6,000 scrimmage yards across 77 games.
He missed 14 games in 2018 after undergoing groin surgery, but averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 14 touches. While he played in 15 games this past season, he averaged just 3.6 yards per rush and seemed to lose some of his explosiveness.
Unfortunately for Freeman, it’s reportedly unlikely that another team is willing to match or exceed Seattle’s offer. Paired with his asking price and a potential decline in his abilities, he might ultimately sit out the 2020 season.