The Los Angeles Rams face a difficult decision entering this off season regarding their superstar running back Todd Gurley. Despite not being a free agent, Gurley’s production and role in the team has significantly reduced over the past season and a half, leaving many to wonder if he will be seeing the back of LA before the team moves into the brand new SoFi Stadium in September.
Gurley signed a new 4 year deal worth $57,500,000 back in the 2018 off season, making him the highest paid player at his position at the time.
The deal included $21,950,000 guaranteed at signing and $45,000,000 guaranteed overall. A contract like this is only ever given to a player with expectations of high production levels and showing value for money. This hasn’t been the case for the Rams and Gurley however. He suffered a bad knee injury and in recent seasons we have seen his productivity levels drop and the Rams look at other people to distribute the work load in the back field.
The Rams have stated that they will be meeting with Gurley before free agency begins, perhaps a somewhat ominous outlook for the running back moving forward. That being said, LA will need to find themselves a team willing to enter business and pitch a suitable trade for Gurley.
Below I have compiled a list of five teams Gurley could be traded to and the justifications of why I believe so.
With it being almost certain that Miami will take a quarterback with the fifth pick of the draft, and said quarterback then being given a chance to win out the starting job against Ryan Fitzpatrick in training camp, it would be no bad thing to have a running back of Gurley’s stature lined up in the backfield alongside him.
With the new quarterback coming in on a rookie contract, it would give the Dolphins some cap leverage to balance the books on Gurley’s contract should he be traded to south beach. Having been in tank mode all season, Miami pretty much gutted itself of all other superstar players and don’t have anyone on the roster currently who would demand such a salary as Gurley would require.
With a coast to coast trade and hopefully franchise quarterback being drafted this year, these few moves could spark optimism in the Miami fan base as the race to be the new face of the AFC East heats up.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With the question of “keep Jameis / trade Jameis?” floating in the Tampa airwaves a good way to settle the ship would be to bring in Gurley.
If Winston goes, they have a superstar running back to help steady the ship but more importantly, if Winston stays, the team won’t have to rely on him throwing 40 times a game to win (or lose) them matches.
Gurley would perfectly complement Winston in allowing him to throw less and get more open windows of play-action throws – something which would undoubtedly happen as this was the premise in which Rams head coach Sean McVay built his offence and allowed both Gurley and Jared Goff to shine. This would be a bold front office move for the Bucs to make but one that they should definitely consider if they are hoping to keep up with an ever changing NFC South.
Turbulent times in Indianapolis has constantly reshaped this team’s identity on a yearly and perhaps monthly basis.
The sudden and shocking retirement of Andrew Luck thrust backup Jacoby Brissett into the starting position and for the most part he managed this well. Alongside him in the back field, Marlon Mack carried his fair share of the work load and just last year he had his first career 1,000 yard rushing season managing 1,091 of 247 attempts scoring 8 touchdowns along the way.
Now, you might ask yourself, what role does this leave for Gurley? Well, at the minute, the Colts’ QB situation is up in the air.
The team have stated they want to look for other options outside of Brissett and on many channels it is being touted that Philip Rivers could land in town as a first time free agent. With this uncertainty, it would be smart of the Colts’ to establish themselves as a dominant run first team with an explosive tandem of Mack and Gurley. The shared work load will help to stop any potential re-aggravation of Gurley’s injury through over use, and also won’t take away from Mack’s role either – keeping both parties happy. This would be a surprising, yet sensible landing spot for Gurley.
The Atlanta Falcons have a lot of firepower on offence; Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley to name but a few. Their offence produced just about as much as it could last season only to be let down in many cases by their defence. Ok, Gurley doesn’t play defence and that all may seem irrelevant to him going there, but it just works. Hear me out.
In a division with Drew Brees (assuming he doesn’t retire) and Alvin Kamara, Cam Newton/Kyle Allen and Christian McCaffrey – throwing Gurley into the mix alongside Matt Ryan and the rest of that offence, suddenly the NFC South lights up.
Whispers have been circulating of Devonta Freeman’s release, opening a gap for Gurley to fill but it would take either the Rams to pay a portion of his salary, or for Gurley to consider a restructured contract and in this case it’s worth it as the Falcons are only a few pieces away from being contenders again. This deal does feel like somewhat of a longshot, but how exciting would that offence be to watch?!
Last season showed just how strong the culture is in Philly. To be so injury stricken and still make the playoffs is a credit to the work put in by GM Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson.
Offensively it felt like Wentz would have been safer throwing the ball to himself at times – they got so far down the depth chart that even during games broadcasters were unsure exactly as to who was who.
Wentz himself got hurt in the playoff game and we say Josh McCown take reps in his first ever playoff game. It tells a story when a team’s quarterback is two yards shy of being the third overall rusher on the season. Wentz tallied up 243 yards on 61 rushes, two yards behind Boston Scott who totalled 245 on 62 attempts. Injuries hit the back field as well and this in no doubt affected production, but all season long the team lacked explosive plays and something that the fans could get behind.
Bringing Gurley into the equation would do wonders for both explosiveness and work load distribution in the fightback against injuries next season. Playing for an offensively creative coach would in no doubt appeal to Gurley and would hope to take the team back to the Lombardi heights of the 2017 season.
What do you think? Am I close in my guesses or am I totally wrong? Hot take or freezing cold? All will be revealed over the coming weeks and months but let me know what you think now over on twitter @MichaelLavery98.