Todd Gurley released: Seven most logical landing spots for the All-Pro running back

The NFL running back market is beginning to heat up as Todd Gurley is now officially a free agent. The Los Angeles Rams released Gurley Wednesday, hours before he was due a $10.5 million roster bonus, the final injury guarantee on the four-year, $57.5 million contract he signed with the franchise. Gurley has played five seasons in the NFL and has rushed for 5,404 yards and 58 touchdowns. He emerged as one of the top running backs in the league, earning two First Team All-Pro selections (2017, 2018) and three Pro Bowl nominations (2015, 2017, 2018). Gurley led the NFL in rushing and scrimmage touchdowns twice, while accumulating 7,494 scrimmage yards and 70 touchdowns.

This might seem like a typo, but it’s not — Gurley is still just 25 years old. There will be plenty of teams that will make a run at Gurley now that he’s available. Here are the top landing spots for the All-Pro running back, some Gurley can make into Super Bowl contenders. 

*All salary cap numbers courtesy of Over The Cap

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There are going to be plenty of players that want to play for Tampa with Tom Brady heading down to the Florida coast. Gurley would be foolish not to want to join forces with Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, especially since the Buccaneers need a No. 1 running back and he can reclaim his value on a one-year deal. Tampa Bay finished 24th in the NFL in rushing and averaged just 3.7 yards per carry last season. Ronald Jones (724 yards, 4.2 yards per carry) made the running back situation better, but he’s no Gurley, and the former second-round pick has mostly been a disappointment. The Buccaneers currently have $47,552,467 in salary cap space. They’ll have room to give Gurley a nice contract. 

2. Buffalo Bills

The Bills are in the market for a running back and they have reportedly engaged in contract discussions with Melvin Gordon. Why not pursue Gurley now that he’s available? Buffalo finished eighth in the league in rushing and averaged 4.5 yards per carry (11th in NFL), but 510 of those yards came from quarterback Josh Allen. The Bills need a complimentary back to pair with Devin Singletary (775 yards, 5.1 yards per carry), as Gurley would be an ideal fit for short-yardage situations and red zone touchdowns. A run-first team like Buffalo could use Gurley and his 42 touchdowns over the past three seasons. Gurley and Singletary would be an ideal committee and the Bills can afford him ($32,220,824 in available salary cap space). 

3. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins just gave Jordan Howard a two-year, $10 million deal, so why would they be in the market for Gurley? First, Miami has more than enough cap space and they have been one of the most active teams in free agency ($46,876,077 in available cap space remaining). Second, Gurley is just 25 years old and would provide even more power to an already potent running game with Howard. Howard can be a No. 1 running back, but his strength is splitting carries with another back. The Dolphins were dead last in the NFL in rushing in 2019, so they need all the help they can get. 

4. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons are reported as a landing spot for Gurley (per ESPN’s Josina Anderson), but it will be extremely difficult for them to land him. Atlanta has $2,081,373 in salary cap space, which makes it tough to strike a deal and bring Gurley back to Georgia. Gurley was a fan favorite in Athens, running for 3,285 yards and 36 touchdowns in three collegiate seasons. The Falcons need running back help after releasing Devonta Freeman as Brian Hill is the only regular contributor from last season back on the roster. If they can find a way to get Gurley as their No. 1 running back, they have to create the cap space and make it happen. 

5. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have plenty of money to spend in free agency and have one of the best offensive lines in football. This is the ideal fit for Gurley if he wants to get back to the All-Pro level he showed during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Indianapolis does have Marlon Mack, but he is still on his rookie contract, so there’s room to share the touches with Gurley and keep both oft-injured backs healthy. Adding Gurley to a top-10 rushing offense takes the pressure off Philip Rivers to lead the offense. The Colts can give Gurley a lucrative deal ( they still have $45,958,488 in salary cap space) and return to the playoffs in the process. 

6. Kansas City Chiefs

Could you possibly imagine Gurley as the top running back option in an offense with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback? If it happens, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid would manage Gurley’s touches properly, making him effective for the playoffs. Pair Gurley with Damien Williams and the Chiefs offense has the potential to average over 35 points a game. The Chiefs were just 23rd in rushing yards and 27th in rushing attempts last season (did have 100-plus rushing yards in their last five games, including all three postseason games). To get Gurley, they have to release or restructure Sammy Watkins’s deal (the Chiefs are currently $15,034 over the cap). 

7. Green Bay Packers

The Packers have two running backs in Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, so why would they be interested in Gurley? Head coach Matt LaFleur was the Rams offensive coordinator in 2017 when Gurley led the NFL with 2,093 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns, getting the best out of Gurley in his first All-Pro season. Green Bay has enough salary cap space ($14,563,844) to make one more move. The Packers were one game away from the Super Bowl and were 15th in rushing last year. Adding Gurley could make them the favorite in the NFC to get to Super Bowl 55 in Tampa. 

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