A day after his release by the Rams, the Falcons are preparing to add Todd Gurley
to their roster according to reporting by both ESPN and NFL Network.
The Falcons posted those reports on their official website.
The deal is pending a physical, which could be difficult due to the current restrictions on player medical checks due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Rams cut Gurley, who played for the University
of Georgia, Thursday before an additional $10.5 million on his contract was set to become guaranteed.
After winning the 2017 Offensive Player of the Year Award, which helped earn him a big extension, it's been a precipitous fall for Gurley due to lingering knee issues. The injury curtailed his play during the Rams run to the Super Bowl in 2018, and he lacked his normal explosion again in 2019.
The questions about his knee led the Rams to move on, eating more than $20 million in dead money. L.A. still owes Gurley a $7.55 million roster bonus for this season. A shade over $2.5 million of that deal is subject to offsets, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
The Falcons had talks with the Rams about a potential trade for Gurley before he was released, according to multiple reports. Instead, they get him without giving up any draft considerations or taking on the rest of his bulky contract.
As NFL.com's Kevin Patra suggested, a one-year deal for Gurley makes sense, given the questions about his knee.
The Falcons were in the market for running back help after cutting Devonta Freeman
. They have drafted a running back each of the past three years, with Qadree Ollison
(fifth round), Ito Smith
(fourth) and Brian Hill
Still, Pairing Gurley with Julio Jones
, Matt Ryan
and Calvin Ridley
could be a major coup for Atlanta.
If all stay healthy.
Atlanta averaged 85.1 rushing yards per game in 2019, the third-fewest in the NFL. The Rams, however, have boasted a top-eight rushing offense in three of Gurley's five seasons. Gurley will also have a deep group of running backs behind him who should be able to keep him fresh when needed.
Beyond that, NFL.com's Marcas Grant points out that no team threw the ball more than Atlanta last season -- in part because the team's defense constantly had them playing from behind.
Unless things change dramatically on that side of the ball, Grant notes that Ryan could be asked to do the same this year, something that Grant believes could give Gurley some extra juice as a pass-catcher. It's a fair point and worth considering.
One concern for me is the possibility that Gurley's high profile, past production and a new home will result in an optimism of the unknown situation that might drive up his ADP. That's something we'll be watching for as the season draws nearer.