The Atlanta Falcons released running back Devonta Freeman earlier this week, and they’ve found his replacement in short order. The team is signing Todd Gurley to a one-year contract, per ESPN’s Jordan Schultz. The Falcons are not announcing the signing yet, but they effectively confirmed it a couple times.
It’s been quite the turn of events for Gurley. In July 2018, he signed a four-year $60 million contract extension. The 2018 season was one of the best of his career, averaging a career-high 4.9 yards per carry and rushing for 1,251 yards and 17 touchdowns, while adding 59 receptions for 580 yards and four touchdowns.
However, after poor games in the NFC title game and Super Bowl, Gurley saw a significant decline in 2019. He had some solid performances on the season, but he never surpassed 100 yards rushing, and Sean McVay seemed to prefer a limited workload. He finished the season with three games of 20+ rushing attempts. He finished with the bulk of the running back work ahead of Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson, but it was a disappointing season.
Now he joins a Falcons squad that had a disappointing ground game. Devonta Freeman rushed 184 times for 656 yards while averaging 3.6 yards per carry. Brian Hill had 78 carries for 323 yards and Ito Smith had 22 rushes for 106 yards. The question is how much the Falcons will be prepared to lean on Gurley after a season in which the Rams at times were hesitant to go completely all in.
Gurley finished last season ranked 14th overall among running backs, just behind Joe Mixon and just ahead of Miles Sanders. It’s worth noting he finished the season relatively strong for most fantasy owners. Using NFL.com’s fantasy stat recap, he had 18.5 points in Week 13, 21.3 in a Week 14 that would have been fantasy quarterfinals for most leagues, 20.8 in Week 15 semifinals, and 16.8 in Week 16 finals.