Posted on July 29, 2017, by Travis Pulver

As a fourth-round pick, Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman hasn’t been making a ton of money yet (by NFL standards). But as a fourth-round pick, the team can’t exercise a fifth-year option and lock him up for one more year at a bargain rate. They will either need to pay the man or risk letting him walk.

According to the rumor mill, the team has been hard at work trying to come to an agreement with Freeman on a contract extension. Looking at his production just over the last two years tells you all you need to know.

Via @AroundTheNFL

He deserves a pay raise. Not just a pay raise, but a very big one. For the last two seasons, Freeman has rushed for over 1,000+ yards in each, tallied a total of 3,175 yards (2,135 rushing) from scrimmage, and scored 27 touchdowns. Only Julio Jones recorded more total yards in the same time frame. LeSean McCoy is the only one to rush for more yards, and only David Johnson has outscored him.

His production is among the best in the NFL, and it deserves to be properly compensated. He knows it. His agent knows it, and so does Falcons owner Arthur Blank.

The NFL Network’s Michael Silver has reported that Freeman was seeking something in the double digit per year range.  In a recent report, Silver also stated that the team and Freeman’s camp have agreed to a total number. But they have yet to agree on how it is going to be allotted over the first three years.

If this kind of thing were easy, the two sides would be done already. But it tends to be complicated on a good day. There is an excellent chance that a deal will be done soon and Freeman will be a much richer and much happier man.

At the same time, the whole deal could get scrapped, and they’ll have to start all over again next year. Contract negotiations can be that tricky. At this point, it sounds unlikely, but he could still play out the final year of his contract before signing an extension.

That would make his production this season very important because if he underperforms, or worse—gets hurt –the team will low ball him when talks begin anew.

So, it is a good thing that he has taken a page out of the college superstar’s playbook. He took out an insurance policy.

Via @nfldata

Silver reported on Inside Training Camp Live Friday that Freeman has spent $50,000 on a $10 million insurance policy. It is a practice that has been common among college superstars in recent years. His reason is the same as college kids. He wants to protect himself and his future earnings from injury.

If there is anyone else that needs to, it is a guy like Freeman. As a fourth round pick, he has only earned about $1.5 million and is set to make about $1.8 million this season. But he is one of the better running backs in the NFL. He has earned a pay raise from somewhere, if not the Falcons, and he’ll get it.

But not if he gets hurt.

It will likely be $50,000 he didn’t need to spend. But if you have a million dollars in the bank and can afford the peace of mind—why not? Heck, why don’t more guys do this?

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