Blank, appearing on Atlanta’s 92.9 The Game on Monday, praised Freeman for being an integral part of the franchise. Freeman, a former fourth-round draft pick out of Florida State, is going into the final year of his rookie contract and is due to make $1.797 million in 2017.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff has said numerous times he expects something will be worked out with Freeman leading into training camp in late July.
“As far as No. 24 is concerned, I think Freeman — actually just sent me a text the other day about something — he is the kind of person you want to have on your team for all the right reasons,” Blank said. “He’s a great player. He’s a great individual. He’s cares about the community. He cares about his teammates. He’s very responsive to coaching. There’s nothing about Devonta that I don’t love.
“And I know that Thomas is working hard with him and his agent (Kristin Campbell). I feel very confident that we’ll be able to work out something with him for a long-term solution, fairly soon I think. It’s just a matter of timing. You can’t do all these big deals all at once; not even for financial reasons but they take time. … The relationship we have with the player is critical. It was with Desmond (Trufant). It will definitely be that way with Devonta. It will be that way in the future with any of our other players as they come up.”
Trufant, the one-time Pro Bowl cornerback, was the most recent Falcons player to sign a lucrative long-term deal. He received a five-year, $69 million extension in April that included $42 million guaranteed.
Freeman talked about his contract situation and the looming extension following the conclusion of mandatory minicamp.
“Things looking good, though,” Freeman said. “It’s just a timing thing. (Dimitroff) said, ‘Just be patient with the process.’ It’s a timing (thing). But like I told him, he knows I ain’t in a rush.”
The Falcons have about $8.6 million in cap space, according to the latest National Football League Players Association figures.
Freeman has put himself in prime position for a lucrative deal. He accumulated 3,175 yards from scrimmage over the past two seasons, second in the league to teammate Julio Jones (3,280). His 27 touchdowns from scrimmage over that same span are the second in the league behind Arizona’s David Johnson (32), and his 2,135 rushing yards are second to Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy (2,162).