The NY Jets are interested in signing running back Devonta Freeman
The NY Jets may have just signed veteran Frank Gore, but that apparently doesn’t mean that they are done making additions to the running back position with reports indicating that they’re interested in signing Devonta Freeman.
Sports Illustrated’s Mike Silver reported on Wednesday that the Seattle Seahawks had offered Freeman a one-year, $4 million contract, but he had turned it down. However, it was what he said next that seems perplexing.
Silver iterated that the both the Jets and Philadelphia Eagles were also in the mix to sign the two-time Pro Bowl running back. The Eagles make sense — the Jets do not.
Just two weeks ago, the Jets agreed to sign veteran Frank Gore to a one-year, $1.05 million contract. Gore is expected to join a backfield consisting of both Le’Veon Bell and fourth-round rookie La’Mical Perine.
That’s already quite the crowded running back depth chart. For that reason, the interest in Freeman makes little sense.
The 28-year-old has spent the first six years of his career with the Atlanta Falcons after entering the league as a fourth-round pick back in 2014. After playing a part-time role in his rookie season, Freeman burst on to the scene in 2015.
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Freeman would secure two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons running behind one of the best offensive lines in football. As a result, he would be named to two consecutive Pro Bowls establishing himself as one of the better running backs in the NFL.
But just as Atlanta’s offensive line began to deteriorate, so too did Freeman’s numbers.
After missing almost all of the 2018 season with an injury, Freeman returned in 2019 and averaged just 3.6 yards per carry in 14 games. The Falcons’ offensive line was a shell of its former self and so too was Freeman.
Now a free agent, Freeman’s market has developed very slowly — as was to be expected. His ability as a pass-catcher out of the backfield has always been one of his bets traits and it’s likely why the Jets have shown interest.
But one has to wonder what the implications would be if the Jets were to sign Freeman.
What if the NY Jets sign Devonta Freeman?
If the Jets were to sign Freeman, it would mean that each of the three running backs on the roster would immediately see fewer snaps than expected.
And Gore, who’s only guaranteed $200,000 on his contract, could lose his roster spot.
Gore’s signing always seemed a bit odd given that the Jets were more looking for a quicker, pass-catching running back. His short-yardage, physical running style could easily be replicated by Bell and Perine.
Ultimately, his skill set seemed redundant.
But with Freeman, the Jets would actually have themselves a true speedier complement to Bell and Perine. The fit makes sense, but the timing of it is certainly odd.
Perhaps the Jets are just doing their so-called “due diligence.” Or perhaps this is a sign of things to come.