Patriots Linked to Desperate Free-Agent RB, Former Pro-Bowler: Report

Getty Devonta Freeman

As we get closer to the start of the NFL season, the last few high-profile free agents are beginning to get antsy and that means they may be willing to take lower salaries than they originally requested. The latest in this vein could be former Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman.

After being cut loose by his frustrated agent a few days ago, Freeman has hired the powerful Drew Rosenhaus to represent him. Rosenhaus says Freeman has made it clear he would like to be with a team before the end of the month.

“We want to work out a deal in the immediate future, and we are open to any team,” Rosenhaus said, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “He’s healthy, he’s in shape, and I’m on a mission to have him give a team a lift in late July.”

To get a deal done that quickly, Freeman must be willing to budge on previous salary demands, and that might mean he’s in a good position to be available for the budget-conscious New England Patriots.

Freeman Linked to the Patriots

Michael DeVito of FanSided made a sensible case for Freeman drawing interest from the Patriots, writing, “Freeman is a free agent who might provide the speed and elusiveness that is lacking currently in New England’s backfield.”

The Patriots might need help among its running back group because Sony Michel had undisclosed foot surgery in May, as reported by ESPN. Michel led the team with 912 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in 2019, starting 14 of the team’s 16 games. Michel is undergoing rehab in Foxborough, but his status for the season is still unknown.

What Freeman Would Offer to the Patriots

The 2019 season wasn’t a particularly strong one for Freeman from a statistical standpoint. He averaged just 3.6 yards per carry and 46.9 yards rushing per game. Both of those totals were career lows for the 28-year-old from Florida State.

However, it is fair to point out, Freeman only ran the ball on average 13.1 times per game, and he still contributed 59 receptions, 410 receiving yards and a total of six touchdowns. Freeman is 5-feet-8, 206 pounds, difficult for defenders to see at times behind the offensive line. He’s quick and shifty and as evidenced by his receiving numbers, a capable option out of the backfield in the passing game.

With Michel’s status a bit up in the air and his health perhaps more of a concern with no preseason games scheduled, depth at the running back position could suddenly be even more important.

While Freeman is heading to the downside of a running backs career, he could still have two or perhaps three productive seasons remaining. Back in 2004, the Patriots traded for a 30-year-old Corey Dillon and he went on to rush for 1,635 yards that season. It’s a different time in the sport, but Freeman is still someone to keep an eye on.


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