Frustrated Freeman searches for 'elite' pay

By Joe Rodgers 31 January 2017
Frustrated Freeman searches for 'elite' pay

Ahead of Super Bowl LI, Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman and his agent made it known they are seeking "top-three back" money.

The third-year player rushed for 1,079 and 11 touchdowns this season en route to his second Pro Bowl selection.

But while he is focused on beating the New England Patriots, Freeman and his agent are already looking forward to this offseason and beyond as he seeks an "elite" contract before his rookie deal expires after next season.

"It's time for the Falcons to pay him like the elite back he is," Freeman's agent, Kristin Campbell, told NFL Media on Monday. "I expect them to make him a priority this offseason, as he's been an integral part of the dynamic offense that has gotten them to the Super Bowl."

Despite Freeman's stellar play, he is losing carries to the bigger and younger Tevin Coleman.

In the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers, Freeman got 14 carries to Coleman's 11.

The timeshare has been a source of cognitive dissonance for Freeman this season as he wants what is best for his future but also the team. 

"I'm certainly struggling with it, just because I'm a competitor," Freeman said. "I just want to be around the ball as much as I can, to help the team win. Now we're in the Super Bowl, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"I don't know how many carries or touches I'm going to get going into this game, but I'm going to try to make the most of every opportunity I get."

Freeman and his agent have already approached the Falcons about making him one of the league's highest-paid backs.

Campbell said she did not receive a response, but plans to push the matter after the Super Bowl.

"During the season it has been frustrating for Devonta," Campbell said. "He has been trying to establish himself as a top-three back in the league, and yet when you look at his snaps, he gets significantly less opportunity than the others vying to be in that category.

"I think a serious argument can be made that he is a top-three back, and he should be compensated accordingly."

Freeman wants to take the best deal from the Falcons before the start of 2017 and not resort to a holdout or a trade request to get his way. 

"I want to be with the Falcons forever," Freeman said. "I don't want to be anywhere else. I don't want to jump from team to team. I want to be like a Ray Lewis or a Tom Brady and spend my whole career with one team.

"I would love to get it done, cause I'm comfortable here. It's family. I love the fans, the atmosphere, the organisation, the community, the place where I stay, Lenox Mall ... it feels like home."

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