Brad Menendez | Dec 15, 2018 | 0
The Price is Right: Tevin Coleman
One of the most coveted free agents in this upcoming off-season will be Tevin Coleman. Now I’m sure most people are well acquainted with Tevin by now as he’s been a solid RB2 for a few seasons, but the best could potentially be yet to come from him. Since Devonta Freeman was sidelined for the 2018 season with an unfortunate groin injury, Coleman has been getting the majority of the carries in Atlanta. Although Coleman has been the obvious main running back, Ito Smith the rookie out of Southern Mississippi has been starting to increase his snaps every week. Atlanta has run an offense that circles around a pair of running backs for years now, since 2011 in fact.
The emergence of Ito Smith in the offense without Devonta Freeman was just a matter of time, and it is not a sign of Coleman losing his shares in the offense. Since Coleman’s emergence in 2015, his average snap share has fluctuated between 35-45% of the running back snaps with Freeman getting a workload of 54-67% with his snaps slightly decreasing every season. This is the way Dan Quinn has been running his offense since he took over the job from Mike Smith in 2015. Now I’m not saying that Ito won’t be a thorn in the sides of a Coleman owner on a weekly basis, but it’s nothing to be concerned over.
Possibly the most promising part of Coleman this year has been his involvement in the Atlanta passing offense. Tevin has been involved in the passing attack for years but with the addition of Calvin Ridley, the Falcons passing attack has enough options that both Ito & Tevin have been able to make the most out of dump offs and designed pass plays out of the backfield. As of this article, Coleman is on pace for roughly 1,200 all-purpose yards which would be his career high and at the perfect time in his career to do so. Tevin has been sitting around 900 all-purpose yards the past two seasons so if he does reach the 1,200 mark this year he’ll be in for a massive payday hypothetically.
Now I’m not trying to say Coleman has an absolutely elite skill set here because to be honest, he really doesn’t. He’s an altogether solid running back who continuously gets production on the ground and has to be respected in the passing game. Coleman has a solid frame at 6’1″ and 205lbs hasn’t had any fumbling issues since his rookie year, has above average pass blocking skills for a running back and possesses a 4.39 40 yard dash time. I can’t say Coleman is an elite talent, but he should be mentioned as one of the best all-around running backs in the NFL today. He has all the tools to be “the guy” in almost every other running back corp in the NFL, which hopefully he’ll be able to show next season.
Although Atlanta would love to keep Tevin long term unless they’d like to tie up $30M or more in the running back position alone they won’t be able to keep him from leaving in free agency. If they hadn’t signed Freeman to a massive contract, the Falcons might be able to keep him but with the cap hit Freeman holds until 2021, it’s very unlikely they’d create the cap room necessary to keep Coleman around after this season. With his production and long-term outlook, Coleman could be a low-end RB1 or at worst a high RB2. Depending on the price for him, it’s worth asking the Coleman owner in your league what it would take to get him. In a weak 2019 draft class (of which I’ll be getting into soon) he’s worth any pick after the 5th rookie pick in your draft, and personally, I’d add something else worth the owner’s time with that. The only way Coleman could lose value is if he lands on the Raiders next year, but even then he’s worth the current asking price for a contender.