Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley

Todd Gurley returns to Georgia on a 1-Year deal with Atlanta Falcons

  • 2020 NFL Free Agency
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Todd Gurley
By Jereme Jones March 20, 2020 0 Comment
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Can Todd Gurley have a bounce-back season and help fix the running game problems in Atlanta? Or are we seeing an early end to a once-great career?

The life of a running back in the NFL is nothing if not unpredictable. In 2017, Todd Gurley was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year. Yesterday, the Los Angeles Rams cut the three-time Pro Bowler. But, it didn’t take long for him to find a new home. Today, Gurley signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons.

The deal makes for somewhat of a homecoming for Gurley, the former Georgia Bulldog. Both he and the Falcons are hoping that coming back home might help Gurley rediscover some of his past success. Last season saw Gurley’s yards per carry drop to 3.8, a big drop from his 2018 (4.7), and 2019 (4.8) averages. He also had his lowest total of carries in a season last year (223). The dropoff also showed up in the passing game as well. Gurley caught 31 passes last season, after catching 64 in 2018 and 59 in 2019. His yards per reception (6.1) was less than half his average in 2018 (12.3).

The question for Gurley and Atlanta is whether this drop off is the new normal for him or just a temporary slow down due to injury. Injury issues are nothing new for the running back. He tore his ACL while at Georgia in 2014. There were also knee issues late in the Super Bowl season of 2018. Gurley also had 14 combined carries in the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl that season. There are also reports from last off-season that he is dealing with arthritis issues in his knee.

Atlanta is hoping that Gurley can bounce back from these injury issues as he has in the past. Gurley is still young, not turning 26 until August. And, the Falcons have nothing to lose with the current state of their running game. Last year, Atlanta ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 85.1 To make it worse, the team cut their leading rusher from last year, Devonta Freeman, on Tuesday. The team’s running back room currently consists of Brian Hill, Qadree Ollison, Ito Smith, and Craig Reynolds.

The Falcons are bringing Gurley in on a low-risk deal that could have a high upside for the team if he does indeed have a bounce-back season. Gurley has as much talent as any running back in the NFL. Atlanta would be smart to limit his snaps to keep him healthy and get the most production possible. In an offense with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley, Gurley doesn’t have to be an MVP candidate to play an essential role in Atlanta.

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