Less than 24 hours after being released, Todd Gurley has signed a free-agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons. Grading, analyzing and breaking down the deal.
Todd Gurley was only a free agent for about 18 hours after the Los Angeles Rams released the two-time All-Pro running back. On Friday morning, the Atlanta Falcons agreed to terms with the 25-year-old ball-carrier to bring him back to where he played his college football with the Georgia Bulldogs.
On a baseline level, Gurley has been phenomenal in his five-year career, rushing for 5,404 yards on 1,265 carries with 58 touchdowns along with 218 receptions for 2,090 yards and 12 scores. However, playing on a four-year, $57 million deal with the Rams and dealing with a vague knee injury that has clearly slowed him down from the player he used to be.
ESPN insider Jordan Schultz was the first to report the signing, later noting that the deal with the Falcons is pending a physical.
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Terms of the deal, aside from it being a one-year pact, have not yet been disclosed but, after Atlanta cut DeVonta Freeman, you have to assume that signing Gurley comes on a relative budget scale. (We’ll update the terms when available.) But for now, let’s break down the signing and hand out a grade to the Falcons.
Grading the signing
On paper, signing Todd Gurley gives the Falcons an absolutely elite group of weapons. Matt Ryan now has Gurley, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and newly acquired Hayden Hurst — a former first-round pick — in the fold. That offense could cause a ton of issues for any defense they come up against in the NFL.
The question is what version of Gurley the Atlanta offense will be adding. Though he played in 15 games last season and had 12 rushing touchdowns along with two receiving scores, he had the fewest rushing yards of his career (857) while only averaging 3.8 yards per carry.
Part of that can be attributed to a drop-off in the Rams’ offensive line performance but, also, Gurley clearly didn’t have the same level of juice that he did early in his career as his lingering knee injuries have slowed him down. That makes signing him, however exciting it is for him to return to Georgia, somewhat of a risky proposition.
Frankly, the financial terms of the contract, even if it’s just a one-year deal, are important here. After releasing Freeman, it wouldn’t make sense for the Falcons to break the bank for another running back, especially one with injury concerns. Having said that, assuming it’s a manageable number on a one-year deal, this could be a huge win for the Falcons as they try to regain their footing in the NFC South.
Final Grade: B+