According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the Lions inquired about Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, and the two sides talked about a possible deal at length. Ultimately, the Falcons decided that they didn't want to trade him. According to The Detroit News, Freeman is in the second year of a five-year contract he signed in 2017, and if the Lions had acquired him, they would have been responsible for the $1.88 million he's owed for the rest of 2019, and his base salary would have jumped to $6.5 million in 2020.
Freeman, like the 1-7 Falcons as a whole, have struggled this season. In eight games, Freeman has rushed for just 333 yards, and has yet to record a rushing touchdown. With Tevin Coleman now a San Francisco 49er, many thought that Freeman would put up some of the best numbers of his career, but it's been quite the opposite.
Freeman hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2016, and has struggled with multiple injuries. The last time he recorded a rushing touchdown in the regular season was on Dec. 18, 2017. The Falcons would have indicated to the rest of the NFL that they were entering "full tank" mode if they decided to part ways with Freeman. Backup running back Ito Smith missed the last game due to a concussion, and Kenjon Barner, Brian Hill and Qadree Ollison are the only other running backs on the depth chart.
The Lions were able to snap a three-game losing streak on Sunday with a 31-26 victory over the New York Giants. With Johnson out, Tra Carson took the majority of carries, but rushed for just 34 yards on 12 carries. While the Lions are currently third place in the NFC North at 3-3-1, they believe they are one of the more underrated teams in the NFL. They suffered a tough, four-point loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in a game that was decided in the final minute, and also lost a primetime game to the Green Bay Packers -- a game that was riddled with controversial calls. Adding a running back to replace Johnson's production wasn't a bad discussion to have.