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Report: Falcons release RB Devonta Freeman

Falcons will move on from running back Devonta Freeman in 2020

Devonta Freeman #24 of the Atlanta Falcons rushes for a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons will release running back Devonta Freeman, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The move will save the Falcons $3 million on the salary cap and Freeman will head into free agency in his seventh year in the league.

Freeman was an offensive star his sophomore and junior seasons, topping 1,500 total yards and 13 touchdowns in both seasons, but injuries began to slow him down in 2017 and 2018. Then, last season, Freeman couldn’t return to form when healthy, as he averaged just 3.6 yards per carry. He did still show up in the receiving game, as he had 59 catches for 410 yards and four touchdowns.

Freeman will find some interest in the market, but more as an ancillary piece than a lead back, while the Falcons will look in free agency and the draft for his replacement. Ito Smith will likely have a role but hasn’t done enough to give the team confidence that he will take a step forward this season. Whoever does end up as the lead back will have fantasy football appeal in the Falcons strong overall offense.