FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Two straight seasons as a 1,000-yard rusher have made Devonta Freeman a bargain as he enters the last year of his rookie contract.
For a player, that's a bad place to be. It's why Freeman is looking for an extension to his deal before the 2017 season.
Freeman said Tuesday he's confident the new deal will come. He said he will remain patient rather than consider holding out of training camp as a negotiating ploy.
"I just always wanted to be that guy that never wanted to hold out and leave my guys out there working," Freeman said. "I understand it's a business, 100 percent, but I know what I signed up for."
Freeman's current contract calls for him to earn $1,797,000 this season, the last year of his four-year, $2.7 million contract he signed as a rookie.
The Falcons, attempting to regroup after their Super Bowl loss to New England, already have re-signed cornerback Desmond Trufant to a five-year extension worth $68.75 million this offseason. They also had all their draft picks signed before last week's rookie minicamp.
Might Freeman and his agent, Kristin Campbell, could be next at the Falcons' bargaining table. Freeman said he sought advice from receiver Julio Jones on how to handle himself this offseason.
Freeman said Jones' best advice was "make sure whatever I do just make sure I come in and work. ... That's what I call my business. If I could take care of that, everything else will take care of itself."
Freeman has been remarkably consistent since coming out of Florida State, even while sharing the carries with Tevin Coleman in 2016. He rushed for 1,079 yards with 11 touchdowns last season after gaining 1,056 yards with 11 TDs in 2015.
"I want to leave a legacy," Freeman said. "Holding out, that's not going to leave a legacy. If I hold out, I'm behind. I don't want to be behind. I want to be ahead and moving forward."
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