Freeman is seeking a deal in the "double digits" per year, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport added. Silver reported that the total compensation has essentially been agreed upon by both sides, though the team and player differ over the money allotted for the first three years of the deal.
Freeman's contract has been an interesting side story in Flowery Branch. The topic was first broached by Freeman's agent in an interview with Silver just before the Super Bowl. Last season, Freeman logged 1,079 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground with another 462 receiving yards.
In 2015, he also had 11 touchdowns and 1,056 yards rushing.
While negotiations have not been tense, it's clear both sides are working feverishly to get something done before camp and continue to negotiate. A former fourth-round pick, Freeman is woefully underpaid at $1.838 million this season despite being one of the league's premiere running backs.
Given that running backs have a far shorter earning period in their careers, Freeman's cautious move makes plenty of sense. The LeSean McCoys and Adrian Peterson, who can survive multiple contracts and still play at a high level while commanding top dollar, are increasingly rare in today's NFL. Le'Veon Bell, perhaps the best running back in the league right now, saw his negotiations stall and is currently staying away from Steelers training camp.
Perhaps an insurance policy could ease the sting if Freeman cannot maximize his earning window.