The Los Angeles Rams gave the football world a bit of a shock on Thursday afternoon by releasing Todd Gurley. In the process, they absorbed over $20 million in dead cap space and let go of a player they drafted No. 10 overall in 2015.
Gurley, one of the NFL’s best running backs when he can stay healthy, wasn’t on the market for long, signing a one-year deal worth $5 million with the Atlanta Falcons just a few hours later.
The move makes a ton of sense for both Gurley and the Falcons. Atlanta released Devonta Freeman earlier this offseason and was in the market for a running back.
Gurley provides them with a low-risk/high-reward option. If he can stay healthy, Atlanta will have signed one of the best running backs in the world to help take pressure off Matt Ryan and the rest of the passing game. If Gurley’s lingering knee problems continue to be an issue, they haven’t made any significant investment in him and can choose to move on after the season.
Another reason this made sense for the Falcons is Gurley’s popularity in the state of Georgia. Gurley was a standout running back during his three-year career at the University of Georgia and left as the school’s second-leading rusher of all time before being passed by Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and dropping to fourth.
The second it was announced that Gurley had been released, Falcons fans let the team’s twitter account know they wanted to bring him back to The Peach State.
The deal also gives Gurley a chance to get back to putting up the numbers he's accustomed to and convince someone to give him a long-term deal.
Gurley has eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark three times in his five-year career and led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2017 and 2018.
Combining Gurley with Ryan, Julio Jones, Hayden Hurst and Calvin Ridley gives Atlanta one of the most potent offensive units around, and they’ll need it if they’re going to compete in a division that welcomed Tom Brady into the mix earlier this week.