Speaking to the media on Monday, Payton praised Freeman for his versatility and called himself “a big fan.” He explained that he knows exactly what Freeman can do after years of coaching against him.
“Someone we’re familiar with, obviously, having played against him for a number of years,” Payton said, via ProFootballTalk. “He gives you good versatility both in the run and the pass. I’ve been a big fan. I think it’s a good addition for us in the room. There’s some versatility he brings and I’m excited about that.”
In 10 career games against the Saints, Freeman had 691 rushing yards and four touchdowns, along with 319 yards and three touchdowns through the air. His Atlanta Falcons teams went 6-4 in games where he played.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) August 1, 2021
Between 2015 and 2017, Devonta Freeman ranked among the NFL’s best running backs. He enjoyed back-to-back Pro Bowl campaigns in 2015 and 2016, leading the NFL in rushing and total touchdowns in 2015.
But after an injury-shortened 2018 season, he returned in 2019 and was significantly less effective. He was released after the season and spent the 2020 season with the New York Giants, who released him at the end of the season.
Freeman spent a few weeks on the Buffalo Bills practice squad during their playoff run, but was cut afterwards.
Perhaps New Orleans is where Freeman can resurrect his career.