Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan says his team has two running backs who would be the best on most teams.
Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are, in the opinion of Ryan, among the elite running backs in the NFL, and among the few who can do everything asked of them, whether running, receiving or blocking.
“Devonta and Tevin are two of the best in the league. They complement each other so well. The unique thing about us with them is they’re both three-down backs,” Ryan said. “It’s rare that you have one guy on your roster like that. We have two.”
Ryan said the Falcons’ offense runs all the same plays regardless of whether Freeman or Coleman is on the field.
“There’s really no change in what we do no matter which guy is in there,” Ryan said.
That’s a good position to be in, but it raises a question about whether Freeman is really worth the new contract he and the Falcons are expected to discuss this offseason. The Falcons are currently getting a bargain with Freeman under contract for $690,000 in 2017 and Coleman under contract for $680,000 in 2017 and $792,000 in 2018. If Freeman and Coleman are effectively interchangeable, the Falcons may be better off letting Freeman play out his contract and test free agency a year from now, and giving Coleman a bigger workload in 2018 if Freeman is gone. In today’s NFL few running backs get big money, and a team that has two good running backs is unlikely to pay both of them.