Devonta Freeman, Falcons agree on five-year contract extension

The Atlanta Falcons and two-time Pro Bowl working again Devonta Freeman have agreed to a five-year contract extension that makes him the NFL’s highest-paid working again, a supply knowledgeable of the state of affairs instructed NFL Community’s Michael Silver. The extension pays out $41.25 million.

The Falcons confirmed the five-year extension on Wednesday morning.

The previous Florida State standout will take dwelling an annual common of $Eight.25 million over the lifetime of the deal. That is greater than another working again, pending Le’Veon Bell‘s anticipated acceptance of a one-year, $12.1 million provide from the Pittsburgh Steelers. (The Steelers used their franchise tag on Bell, however he has to date declined to signal and stays away from coaching camp.)

The extension contains $17.three million absolutely assured and $22 million in ensures, a supply knowledgeable of the state of affairs instructed NFL Community Insider Ian Rapoport. Freeman additionally receives a $15 million signing bonus, per Rapoport.

“We’re more than happy that we had been capable of get this extension carried out,” Falcons basic supervisor Thomas Dimitroff mentioned in an announcement. “Devonta embodies the whole lot we’re on the lookout for in a Falcon, and we’re proud that he’ll have the ability to spend his profession right here in Atlanta.”

A fourth-round draft decide in 2014, Freeman has scored 27 touchdowns over the previous two seasons and had vastly outperformed his rookie deal, which was because of pay him $1.Eight million in 2017. The brand new contract can be tacked onto the ultimate yr of Freeman’s rookie deal and runs by means of the 2022 season.

“All people’s completely happy,” mentioned Freeman’s agent, Kristin Campbell. “I am so excited for him. He is excited to be a Falcon for all times. He loves town. The group’s been nice all through the method. To have him be the highest-paid again after solely three years is a testomony to his achievement. Everybody’s thrilled.”

Six days earlier than Super Bowl LI, Freeman expressed a desire for a new deal, which turned a significant story in the course of the days main as much as the sport. The twin menace backed up his phrases with a robust efficiency within the Falcons‘ heartbreaking Super Bowl LI defeat to the New England Patriots, scoring the sport’s first landing and gaining 121 yards from scrimmage.

Final month, as negotiations with the Falcons stalled, Freeman was ready to play out his rookie deal and check the market — or have the franchise tag positioned upon him by the Falcons — following the 2017 season. He spent $50,000 on a $10-million insurance policy to guard him within the occasion of a career-altering damage, all of which is now moot.

Freeman, 25, will now command an annual common wage second solely to Bell (except Bell declines to signal his franchise tender and elects to take a seat out the season). For now, Freeman has the NFL’s most profitable deal amongst working backs, surpassing that of the Buffalo BillsLeSean McCoy, whose common annual wage is a reported $Eight million.

Final January, Freeman admitted that he was “struggling” along with his position in Atlanta’s offense, which had him sharing the workload with Tevin Coleman, a third-round decide within the 2015 draft. Although Coleman stays an integral a part of the Falcons‘ assault — now below the steering of offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who changed Kyle Shanahan after Shanahan was employed because the San Francisco 49ers head coach following the Super Bowl — it is clear that the group regards Freeman as its marquee again.

Two seasons in the past, the 5-foot-Eight, 206-pound Freeman made the Pro Bowl after gaining 1,056 yards on 265 carries and catching 73 passes for 578 yards. Final season, he ran for 1,079 yards on 227 carries and had 54 receptions for 462 yards, once more incomes a Pro Bowl choice.

With Freeman’s deal carried out, the Falcons can now flip their consideration towards negotiating an extension for star quarterback Matt Ryan, the NFL’s reigning MVP. Earlier than February’s Super Bowl, Falcons proprietor Arthur Clean instructed ESPN he anticipated to reward Ryan for his stellar 2016 season, saying, “He must be compensated effectively, definitely. And he can be.”

Ryan, 32, has two years left on the six-year, $103.75 million contract he signed in July 2013, a deal that included $59 million assured.

Observe Michael Silver on Twitter @MikeSilver.

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