Each day leading up to the start of training camp, we’ll look at a major issue that faces the Falcons and head coach Dan Quinn as he’s set to enter his third season with the team.
FLOWERY BRANCH -- The Falcons have a potential situation with running back Devonta Freeman.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff and owner Arthur Blank have expressed their profound love for Freeman, the person and player.
The market for running backs has changed drastically with the Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles being released from their big-money contracts in Minnesota and Kansas City respectively.
Freeman was watching closing as Pittsburgh was not able to reach a long-term deal with running back Le’Veon Bell. He’s set to play for the $12.12 million franchise tag.
The Falcons are under no obligation to extend Freeman, who’s set to make $1.8 million on the final year of his rookie contract in 2017. He could then be franchise tagged for the next two seasons.
But the Falcons have been discussing a contract extension in some “good faith” negotiations. A modest-to-very generous increase is definitely in order, but the Falcons own most of the chips like most teams do in NFL negotiations.
His camp wants him to be paid like an “elite” running back. They made it known during the Super Bowl week and again during free agency, before trying to distance themselves from tweets from Luther Campbell.
The Falcons have remained calm.
“It’s not going to be a contentious issue in my mind,” Dimitroff said over the offseason. “It’s going to be one that is going to be fairly quick. We know what the market is and we are confident that we can get something done.”
Owner Arthur Blank said on June 26 that things should be done “fairly soon.”
With camp set to open in a week, there should be some movement on a deal soon.
Some contract clarity is coming.
COUNTDOWN TO TRAINING CAMP
Countdown to Camp: Day 5 -- Neal looking to make big leap
Countdown to Camp: Day 4 -- Deion Jones to follow up All-Rookie season
Countdown to Camp: Day 3 -- What will MVP Matt Ryan do for an encore?
Countdown to Camp: Day 2 -- What makes Julio Jones so great?
Countdown to Camp: Day 1 -- Did the Falcons protect the Brotherhood?
Here’s the training camp schedule:
Wednesday, July 26th — Team Reports for Camp
Thursday, July 27th — Practice: 9:30 a.m. – Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Friday, July 28th — Practice 9:30 a.m. – Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Saturday, July 29th — Practice 9:30 a.m. - Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Sunday, July 30th — Practice 9:30 a.m. - Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Monday, July 31st — Players Off
Tuesday, August 1st — Practice 9:30 a.m. - Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Wednesday, August 2nd — Practice 9:30 a.m. - Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Thursday, August 3rd —Practice 9:30 a.m. - Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Friday, August 4th — Practice 5:05 p.m. – Gates open to the public at 4:05 p.m.
Saturday, August 5th —Players Off
Sunday, August 6th — Practice 9:45 a.m. – Gates open to the public at 8:15 a.m.
Monday, August 7th — Practice 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday, August 8th — Practice 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday, August 9th — Walkthrough
Thursday, August 10th — at Miami Dolphins – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, August 11th — Walkthrough
Saturday, August 12th — Players Off
Sunday, August 13th — Practice 9:30 a.m.
Monday, August 14th —Practice 9:30 a.m.
2017 ATLANTA FALCONS 90-MAN ROSTER ANALYSIS
THE FALCONS 2017 DRAFT