Devonta Freeman’s fit with the Philadelphia Eagles is redundant.
After weeks of rumors, it looks like Devonta Freeman may soon find his NFL home.
According to Adam Caplan and Michael Silver, the Seattle Seahawks have officially offered the ex-Atlanta Falcons rusher a contract worth up to $4 million to serve as a committee piece next to soon-to-be fourth-year rusher Chris Carson and ex-first round pick Rashaad Penny.
Phew, dodged a bullet there.
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*checks the Tweet thread again* oh no. Per the duo, the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles still remain interested in Freeman’s services, though the Eagles are reportedly uninterested in spending more than the veteran minimum on a change-of-pace rusher in a valiant effort to roll over as much cap space as possible into the 2021 season.
Okay, so maybe Freeman could still end up with the Eagles?
In theory, if earning a big payday sits atop Freeman’s wish list then by all means sign with the free-spending Jets. Alternatively, if he wants to go on a deep playoff run for the first time since 2017 then signing a deal with either Philly or Seattle is a sound option too. But if earning a long-term deal as a starting NFL running back is Freeman’s goal – and frankly, it should be – signing with the Eagles is pretty antithetical to that goal.
Why? Because his set of skills are beyond redundant to what the team already has.
Measuring in at 5-foot-8, 206 pounds, Freeman is a smaller slasher who has only surpassed 200 rushing attempts in his career twice, most recently during his Pro Bowl-honored 2016 campaign. While he can pick up yards between the tackles with his quarterback under center, Freeman thrives running outside, where he can violently take on would-be tacklers in the open field. If asked to fill a role like LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, and Josh Adams as an early-down thumper, there’s evidence that Freeman could be fairly effective, even if he’s far from your traditional trucker between the tackles.
But is that really what Freeman wants after being released midway through a five-year, $41.5 million extension? I mean Freeman was ‘the guy’ in Atlanta when the team was at their very best, would he be willing to risk never filling that role again?
As Caplan pointed out in one of his many tweets on the subject, the Eagles already have their number one guy in Miles Sanders and barring injury, he isn’t going to be unseated from that role any time soon.
Foreman is a solid receiver coming out of the backfield, as he’s picked up 2,000-plus yards through the air over his first six years in the NFL, but so are Sanders, Boston Scott, and Corey Clement. Outside of his furious rushing style, which has cursed the 28-year-old with 18 missed games over the last three years, there isn’t an aspect of Freeman’s game that the Eagles don’t already have on their roster right now.
The Indianapolis Colts plan on running a ‘1-1 punch‘ at running back this season with a pair of similar running backs in Jonathan Taylor and Marlon Mack, but typically teams want variety in their rushers for situational optimization. Pairing up Freeman with Sanders, Scott, and Clement is like stacking nachos with cheese on top of cheese on top of cheese. Eventually, you need to add some meat, beans, or South Philly Barbacoa to shake things up.
For my – and by extension, the Philadelphia Eagles’ – money, signing Carlos Hyde to a one-year deal just makes more sense. Not only is Hyde coming off his best professional season as a pro as a member of the Houston Texans in 2019, but his ability to bulldoze between the tackles is unmatched by any player on the team’s roster right now. Devonta Freeman, by contrast, hasn’t been a particularly efficient rusher since 2017 and may never return to that level of play again.