Saints sign former Falcons Pro Bowler Devonta Freeman as backfield depth


It appears Devonta Freeman’s “visit” with the Saints was just a formality. Less than an hour after reporting Freeman was in the building, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted an update Saturday afternoon, announcing the former Falcons workhorse was signing a one-year deal with New Orleans.

A two-time Pro Bowler in Atlanta, the 29-year-old appeared in five games for the Giants last season, contributing 230 yards (172 rushing, 58 receiving) and a touchdown in place of injured starter Saquon Barkley.

In New Orleans, Freeman joins a crowded Saints backfield featuring bell-cow Alvin Kamara (league-best 21 touchdowns last season), power back Latavius Murray (a former 1,000-yard rusher with Oakland), jack-of-all-trades Ty Montgomery and Lions castoff Dwayne Washington. A capable receiver with 264 catches for 2,073 yards and 11 touchdowns to his NFL credit, Freeman gives New Orleans another check-down option to target in the flat, a trait that should prove valuable with wideout Michael Thomas facing a lengthy recovery from ankle surgery.

Freeman, who spent a month on Buffalo’s practice squad following his release from New York, returns to the NFC South, a division he’s quite familiar with after spending his first six seasons with Atlanta. In the Big Easy, Freeman will reunite with his former Florida State teammate Jameis Winston, who he won a national title with in 2013.

There's no guarantee Freeman, who has averaged an underwhelming 3.48 yards per carry over his last two seasons, will crack the Saints’ opening-week roster. Still, Freeman’s impressive body of work makes him a worthy camp flyer as the Saints look to gather as many weapons as possible in the first year of their post-Drew Brees era.

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