FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman said he is not keeping an eye on other top running backs around the league -- namely Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell -- as Freeman eyes a new contract of his own.
Freeman, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is set to make $1.797 million in 2017, is expected to be rewarded with a long-term deal. His agent, Kristin Campbell, previously expressed a desire to see the two-time Pro Bowler paid like an "elite" running back.
Meanwhile, Bell, who received the franchise tag at $12.1 million for this season, did not attend the minicamp while unsigned. The Steelers have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal for Bell or else he will play under that franchise number. And if a long-term deal is reached, Bell's contract figures are certain to trigger a domino effect for other running backs, such as Freeman.
"Things looking good, though. It's just a timing thing. He 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."Devonta Freeman, on his talks with Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff
"Nah, I don't really get into all that,'' Freeman said of Bell and other contract situations. "I let (the media) handle all that. The media is the media, especially people on T.V. I just do me.''
Freeman continues to approach his own contract situation in a positive manner by participating in all offseason activities -- including this week's three-day minicamp, which concluded Thursday -- without any thoughts of holding out. He has maintained a good relationship with general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who said multiple times a new contract should be reached before the start of the season, possibly leading into training camp.
"My main thing is, I've got people in position to handle everything, so I just try to stay focused and focused on football, but we talk all the time,'' Freeman said of himself and Dimitroff.
Freeman would not reveal all the details of the feedback he has gotten from Dimitroff.
"A lot of feedback, man,'' Freeman said. "I ain't going to get in-depth with it. Things looking good, though. It's just a timing thing. He 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. He knows my team [of representatives] ain't in a rush. Whatever works for us ... process, timing thing.''
Freeman has put himself in prime position for a lucrative deal. He accumulated 3,175 yards from scrimmage over the past two seasons, second most in the league to teammate Julio Jones (3,280). Freeman's 27 touchdowns from scrimmage over that same span are the second most in the league behind Arizona's David Johnson (32), and his 2,135 rushing yards are second only to Buffalo's LeSean McCoy (2,162).
Freeman was the first Falcons running back since Michael Turner (2010-11) to post back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons.