Freeman was in attendance for the start of the Falcons' offseason workout program Monday, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Freeman is currently entering the final year of his rookie contract, which is good for under $2 million this season. After joining the Falcons as a fourth-round pick in 2014, Freeman has totaled over 3,000 yards of offense and 27 touchdowns over the past two seasons. Although Atlanta also boasts Tevin Coleman in its backfield, Freeman is surely worth more than he's slated to earn this year, but knowing both he and the Falcons' openness to a long-term extension, he won't complicate matters by skipping workouts.
Freeman intends to be in attendance for the Falcons' offseason program, which kicks off Monday, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Freeman has mentioned a desire to stick in Atlanta, and general manager Thomas Dimitroff has reciprocated, stating that he expects discussions on an extension to happen before training camp, according to Alex Marvez of The Sporting News. Indeed, one domino has already fallen with regard to the Falcons' upcoming salary obligations with Desmond Trufant's (pectoral) recent extension, paving the way for Dimitroff and Freeman's representation to explore one for the running back. Although one sticking point in negotiations could be the presence of another dynamic running back, Tevin Coleman, also in the backfield, Freeman will show a commitment to the team by his participation at the voluntary portion of offseason workouts, which include strength and conditioning at the outset.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff suggested that Freeman could get a contract extension this summer, Alex Marvez of The Sporting News reports. "We will address this," Dimitroff said. "When you look at our history, we address these situations going into training camp. I'm throwing that out there as a general timeline. I don't know when that exactly will be, but I'm confident that something can get wrapped up and he's going to be part of us for years to come." Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Freeman might be considered expendable due to the presence of fellow running back Tevin Coleman. It seems the Falcons believe otherwise, as GM Thomas Dimitroff has discussed a possible extension at least twice this offseason. Dimitroff previously said Freeman's contract situation would be addressed once the team worked out terms with cornerback Desmond Trufant, who agreed to a five-year extension on Saturday. With Trufant's contract out of the way, Freeman should be the top priority for the reigning NFC champs. It is quite possible the two sides will be far apart on financial terms, as Coleman's presence on the roster could make the Falcons hesitant to pay Freeman like one of the top running backs in the league -- even though he's only 25 years old and is coming off back-to-back seasons with 1,500 or more scrimmage yards and 13 or more touchdowns.
Freeman said he has no intentions of leaving Atlanta as he prepares for the final season of his rookie contract, NFL.com reports. Even though Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said Freeman won't get a new deal during the current free-agent period, both sides have made it clear they want to stay together for at least one more season. Dimitroff didn't rule out the possibility of an extension before the season starts, but it does seem cornerback Desmond Trufant is the team's first priority in contract discussions. While the emergence of Tevin Coleman arguably makes Freeman expendable, the Falcons didn't have much trouble finding room for both running backs to contribute during their march to the Super Bowl last season. Expect the duo to reprise their roles for at least one more year, with Freeman leading the way and Coleman serving as a valuable complement.
Freeman gained 75 yards on 11 carries and gathered in both of his targets for 46 yards in the Falcons' 34-28 Super Bowl LI overtime loss to the Patriots. Freeman had a knack for splashy plays on the season's biggest stage, ripping off a 37-yard rush on the Falcons' first offensive play and taking a short pass 39 yards to get Atlanta out of unfavorable field position in the fourth quarter. However, he also whiffed on a blocking assignment in the the final period with the Falcons holding a 28-12 edge, allowing the Patriots' Dont'a Hightower to get a clean shot on Matt Ryan. The sack caused a fumble that gave New England the ball at the Atlanta 25-yard line, lead to a touchdown that brought the Patriots one step closer to what was the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Despite the disappointing conclusion to the season, Freeman followed up strong 2015 sophomore campaign with an even better 1,079 rushing yards, while also equaling his 11 rushing touchdowns from the previous season.
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