Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) spent his first six seasons with the Falcons before the team let him walk in free agency this past off-season in favor of All-Pro tailback Todd Gurley. File Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The New York Giants are signing former Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman to a short-term contract after losing Saquon Barkley to a season-ending knee injury.
League sources told ESPN and NFL Media on Tuesday that Freeman agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $3 million with the Giants. According to ESPN, the two-time Pro Bowl tailback is expected to officially sign the pact Wednesday morning and could play as soon as Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
"Devonta turned down more money from other teams because he likes the opportunity with the Giants best," Freeman's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN.
Barkley tore the ACL in his right knee during Sunday's 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. In his absence, veteran running back Dion Lewis saw a larger workload in the game.
Freeman, 28, will become the top candidate to replace Barkley on early downs, with Lewis serving as a pass-catching back. The Giants also have Wayne Gallman on the active roster, and veteran Rod Smith is on the practice squad.
The Falcons selected Freeman in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Florida State. He spent his first six seasons with the Falcons before the team let him walk in free agency this past off-season in favor of All-Pro tailback Todd Gurley.
In 77 career games with the Falcons, Freeman recorded 3,977 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns on 950 carries. He added 257 receptions for 2,015 yards and 11 receiving scores on 323 targets.
Earlier Tuesday, the Giants placed Barkley on injured reserve. Cornerback Ryan Lewis was added to the active roster in his place.
Jacksonville Jaguars' James Robinson (30) runs for yardage against the Miami Dolphins in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday. The Dolphins defeated
the Jaguars 31-13. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo