For the first half of the season, Todd Gurley was able to float along with RB2 relevance thanks to a TD-heavy scoring output. Gurley finished the season in the top-five of red zone rushing attempts, but he wasn't able to carry his TD-dependent success into the second half due to injuries and losing playing time to Brian Hill. Gurley never showed his trademark second gear despite a nice fit in Atlanta from a supporting cast standpoint and it's difficult to envision him finding a better situation in 2021. He's only worth adding as a speculative volume play in the last few rounds of your drafts.
Coach Dan Campbell acknowledged that the Lions have an interest in signing Gurley, Field Yates of ESPN reports. In addition to Campbell, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn and assistant coach Duce Staley have been actively talking about the possibility of Gurley joining the running back room in Detroit. Campbell stressed that the Lions' strong interest in Gurley doesn't indicate a lack of confidence in D'Andre Swift or Jamaal Williams. It's not clear how the carries would shake out if all three backs were on hand, but Detroit has been one of the few teams interested in Gurley and a deal seems like it could be hammered out soon.
Gurley is scheduled to visit the Lions on Thursday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Gurley hasn't gotten much traction since hitting the open market in March, an unsurprising development given his chronic left knee issues along with the fact that he averaged just 3.5 yards per carry with Atlanta in 2020. Though he's still just 26 years old and has three Pro Bowl seasons on his resume, Gurley's health-related decline over the past couple of years makes his future in the NFL murky. If he ultimately comes to terms with the Lions on a deal, Gurley likely wouldn't be asked to be anything more than a complementary option behind No. 1 back D'Andre Swift, and offseason pickup Jamaal Williams could rank ahead of Gurley in the pecking order as well.
Gurley expressed optimism Wednesday about what his role might look like under new Falcons head coach Arthur Smith if he were to return to Atlanta in 2021, Kelsey Conway of the team's official site reports. "You get excited about a coach that runs the ball, which you know doesn't happen very often," Gurley said. The two-time All-Pro is planning to get in touch with both Smith and new general manager Terry Fontenot in the near future to learn if he has a future with the organization. The idea of playing for the former Tennessee offensive coordinator piques Gurley's interest, given the success Derrick Henry enjoyed the past two seasons, securing rushing titles in both years. Gurley is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in March after accumulating 842 scrimmage yards and nine rushing scores during his debut season in Atlanta. His involvement waned down the stretch, as Gurley was held to single-digit carries in six consecutive games to wrap up the 2020 season.
Gurley ran for 18 yards on nine attempts while securing his only target for a 17-yard gain during Sunday's 44-27 loss to Tampa Bay. Gurley and Brian Hill split carries atop the Falcons' backfield at an even 9:9 ratio. However, Hill was far more explosive with his opportunities on the ground, largely because of a 62-yard run in the fourth quarter. Gurley's debut campaign in Atlanta did not go according to plan, as he labored to 3.5 yards per carry over 195 attempts while seeing himself get overtaken by Ito Smith (ribs) for lead RB carries down the stretch. The man largely responsible for acquiring Gurley, Thomas Dimitroff, was fired as Falcons general manager Oct. 11. The 26-year-old Gurley is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season's end, as is Hill, but Smith remains under contract with Atlanta for one more season.
Gurley registered 16 yards on four carries while securing all three of his targets for 34 yards during Sunday's 17-14 loss to the Chiefs. Gurley made a 26-yard reception down the right sideline on Atlanta's opening play from scrimmage, but the drive stalled three plays later to result in a punt. That gain alone contributed more than half of Gurley's Week 16 yardage production, as Ito Smith and Brian Hill combined for 17 carries atop the Atlanta backfield. A 3.5 yards-per-carry average with limited passing-game upside from Gurley has led the Falcons to look elsewhere for running back contributions down the stretch. Week 17 offers a matchup against the Buccaneers, against whom Gurley virtually disappeared last Sunday when he totaled minus-one yard on his lone carry.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/19||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||12.30|
|3||09/26||@New York Giants||16||17.50|
|4||10/03||Washington Football Team||3||14.24|
|5||10/10||New York Jets||20||18.00|
|9||11/07||@New Orleans Saints||2||13.00|
|11||11/18||New England Patriots||22||18.88|
|13||12/05||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||12.30|
|15||12/19||@San Francisco 49ers||7||14.75|
|18||01/09||New Orleans Saints||2||13.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||225||929||13||38||317||2||213|