Could the Buccaneers be keeping an eye on the brewing contract dispute between Atlanta and running back Devonta Freeman?
I spend a lot of time thinking about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, perhaps too much. All of this thought and over-analysis leads me to a lot of crazy, potential scenarios that I usually dismiss within a few moments of dreaming them up. Today I had one that stuck, and naturally I wanted to share it.
Devonta Freeman is a name that I reckon 99% of the Buccaneer fan base is familiar with, whether it be from his days at FSU, or the biannual match-ups he has against the Bucs. I’m a part of both groups, having watched every game of his at FSU and of course all his games against the Bucs. The root of this conspiracy is really just myself selfishly wanting a personal favorite player of mine to be on the Buccaneers, but I think I can make a decent case for its legitimacy.
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First, a bit on Freeman’s current situation with the Falcons. Freeman is entering his final year under contract with Atlanta and has said that he wants to be paid like an elite running back; that would put him somewhere between eight and twelve million dollars per season. The Falcons are a team that values a rotation of running backs as opposed to a work-horse which could make them hesitant to carry out Freeman’s wish. The presence of running back Tevin Coleman combined with their shortage of cap-space illuminates the possibility that the Freeman could hit the open market. It’s of course also possible that this situation is resolved tomorrow or next week, but what’s a conspiracy theory without some minor plot holes?
If we imagine that Freeman does indeed hit the open market, his fit with the Buccaneers is quite obvious. Freeman is familiar with the state of Florida from his days in Tallahassee with Florida State, where he won a National Championship with Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston isn’t the only connection to Tampa that Freeman has. Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter was Freeman’s first offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator Mike Smith was his first head coach. At the very least you can bet that Tampa will be high on Freeman’s personal wish list should he become a free agent.
It’s easy to see Tampa being interested, as well. They have zero reputable, long-term solutions at running back and have
enough resources to survive this season. If the Buccaneers struggle on the ground in 2017 they’re going to be in hot pursuit of a back next year, with the available money to splurge on one if they want. As a player, Devonta Freeman is well worth the investment.
The 5’8, 206 lb Freeman is a ball of pure energy on the gridiron with electric quickness and home run hitting speed. Working as part of a committee with Tevin Coleman, Freeman has still been able to string together back-to-back thousand yard rushing seasons, and back-to-back seasons with eleven touchdowns. On top of that he’s a lethal threat in the passing game, racking up 54 catches last season and 73 the year before. Freeman has been a tremendous asset for the Falcons’ offense, and the chance to swipe him from a division rival should be something that the Buccaneers look into – even if it’s a rich asking price.
So, all things considered, I think that this could be something for Buccaneer fans to keep an eye on, especially those concerned about the teams’ running backs beyond 2017. What say you though, fans? Could you see Freeman being a solution, or is his asking price too rich for your taste? Let us know what you think in the comments!