Just over a month from the start of training camp, the NFL free agency carousel still hasn’t stopped. There are still a few major players yet to be claimed, and one of them is running back Todd Gurley.
Gurley, who played last season with the Atlanta Falcons, reportedly visited with the Baltimore Ravens last week. He previously had talks with the Detroit Lions and, according to NFL reporter Nick Shook, took a physical with the team.
Both destinations would be tempting for their own reasons. If he went to Detroit, he would reunite with his former quarterback, Jared Goff, with whom Gurley reached a Super Bowl with in 2018 as a member of the Los Angeles Rams.
However, the Ravens hold one advantage over Detroit. If Gurley were to sign with the Ravens, it would mark his return to the city where he was born and raised.
But while Todd Gurley would stand to gain a lot from joining the Ravens, it’s hard to imagine what the Ravens would gain from signing Gurley.
The Ravens don’t have room for Todd Gurley in their backfield.
As it stands, the Ravens already boast one of the most impressive backfields in the NFL, if not the most.
Even after the loss of Mark Ingram earlier this offseason, the roster is packed with promising young running backs such as J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, who combined for 1,528 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2020.
On top of that, dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson alone has made Baltimore’s rushing attack a force to be reckoned with.
Todd Gurley, on the other hand, is undoubtedly past the prime of his career. While he has only played six seasons in the NFL so far, it’s hard to escape the notion that he is on his last legs.
His career got off to a flying start, as he broke the 1,000-yard barrier in three of his first four seasons and led the NFL in touchdown runs in both 2017 and 2018.
Since 2018, however, Gurley has dealt with frequent knee problems which have drastically slowed his production. Last season with Atlanta, he was limited to 678 yards on 195 carries — a rate of 3.5 yards per carry.
It’s looking more and more likely that wherever Gurley ends up — assuming he actually signs somewhere — he will have to settle into the role of a veteran backup.
Furthermore, the Ravens already have a running back who fills Gurley’s niche of power running between the tackles. That running back is Gus Edwards, who has averaged an impressive 5.2 yards per carry over his three-year NFL career.
More so, due to his relatively limited use thanks to the Ravens’ running-back-by-committee system, Edwards seems unlikely to reach his ceiling anytime soon.
As tempting as it is to add the 2017 Offensive Player of the Year to an offense that is already stacked, there don’t seem to be any tangible benefits to signing Todd Gurley.
It would be like impulse-buying that cool Star Wars shirt with the hilarious pun. Sure, people on the street might point it out. But you already have 200 shirts crammed in your drawer and you don’t need one more.