NFL PLAYER NEWS

Freeman gets new deal, becomes highest-paid RB

Sports Xchange

August 09, 2017 at 10:29 am.

Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) carries the ball past New England Patriots outside linebacker Elandon Roberts (52) in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Seals-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) carries the ball past New England Patriots outside linebacker Elandon Roberts (52) in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Seals-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons made Devonta Freeman the highest-paid running back in the NFL, signing him to a five-year contract extension on Wednesday.

Although financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Michael Silver of the NFL Network reported that Freeman’s pact is worth $41.25 million.

The extension, which runs through 2022, has an annual value of $8.25 million, topping the $8 million yearly salary of Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy. Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell will surpass both when he signs his franchise tag tender.

The 25-year-old Freeman was a big part of Atlanta’s run to the Super Bowl last season, starting all 16 regular-season games and leading the team with 1,079 rushing yards to go with 462 receiving yards on 54 receptions. Freeman had 13 total touchdowns.

“We are very pleased that we were able to get this extension done,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement. “Devonta embodies everything we are looking for in a Falcon, and we are proud that he’ll be able to spend his career here in Atlanta.”

A fourth-round draft pick out of Florida State in 2014, Freeman has amassed 2,383 rushing yards in his three seasons, earning a pair of Pro Bowl berths by going over 1,000 yards in 2015 and 2016.

“This is where I’ve always wanted to be,” said Freeman in a statement. “I want to thank Mr. Blank, Thomas and Coach (Dan) Quinn for all of their support. I feel extremely blessed, but the work and grind are just beginning.”

Freeman rolled up 3,175 yards from scrimmage over the past two seasons, second in the league to teammate Julio Jones. He has rushed for 11 touchdowns in each of the past two seasons and has 29 total TDs in 47 regular-season games.

In addition, Freeman is the only player in the league with at least three games of three rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons.

Atlanta, which blew a 25-point second-half lead before losing 34-28 in overtime to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI, plays its first preseason game on Thursday night at the Miami Dolphins.