It’s fantastic news that the former University of Georgia legend is coming home, but now there’s a concern as to whether or not he’ll be able to perform as well as he did before his knee problems.
On ESPN’s First Take this week, Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, and Marcus Spears the 7x Pro Bowler and 3x All-Pro selection’s future with the Falcons.
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Keller Gives Negative Take
Kellerman believes Gurley doesn’t have what it takes to be a stellar running back anymore.
“Who is Todd Gurley right now?” Kellerman began. “Is he gonna stay on the field? And when he’s on the field? Is he the same guy? To me pretty clearly the answer is no. Or he’d still be on the Rams
“The Rams had a fifth-year option on Gurley, they could have exercised that option. And that would have taken place last year and there’s no contractual obligation to him anymore. Instead, they got to eat that money? Look. We talked about this yesterday as it relates to Derrick Henry and we talked about Derrick Henry in previous weeks about how they franchised him and it’s messed up for running backs.”
Keller went on to make a good point that new rules should be put in place about how players get paid because it can get messy.
Spears Focuses on Gurley’s Knee
Spears focuses his take on Gurley’s bad health but still comes up on the positive side of the spectrum calling the signing a “smart move” by the Falcons.
“It is two parts to this man. First of all, I think when Todd Gurley got that deal, he was viewed as more than just a running back out of the backfield. The second thing is and I don’t know this particularly but I have talked to people around the league. I don’t think Todd Gurley is healthy. Todd Gurley has a degenerative knee. I dealt with that. When you tear a meniscus, he had ACL but you can come back from those, but I think he has a degenerative knee.
“I believe the LA Rams did him a service by keeping that kind of under wraps and not forcing pressure on Todd Gurley. If you remember throughout the season, they gave him rest, they limited carries. They limited his time on the field. I believe that they took care of Todd Gurley as much as they possibly could, realizing that he had a knee that was going to continue to deteriorate throughout the year.
Short-term contracts have become the new trend in the NFL due to injuries that are messing them up.
“Now you see the Atlanta Falcons giving him a one year deal. And I really believe that this is a good move by the Atlanta Falcons. Todd Gurley can still be productive. He had 800 yards, 800 plus yards rushing last year so it’s not like he can’t add some type of value to what you’re trying to do offensively. Atlanta, zone scheme, he thrives in that, sticking his foot in the ground get downhill.
Stephen A. Smith Believes in Gurley
It’s always great when Smith is on your side since he is the loudest and most brutally honest. He says Gurley is walking into a perfect situation where there’s already a talented offense who won’t be relying on him.
“I think I think the thing about it, guys is that number one, he’s not the only running back that they’re going to be relying upon,” Smith said. “That’s number one. You got to remember he had 33 less carries last season than he did the season before, even though he had played an additional game. He only played in 14 games in 2018 played in 15 games this past season, but still had 33 less carries.”
Smith understands the Ram’s decisions to release Gurley, but they just gave up on him and didn’t have the same offense Gurley has to work with at the Falcons.
“We now understand why the Rams did what they did, but then we go and we move over to Atlanta, what do you have there? You’ve got Julio Jones, you still got an experienced quarterback in Matt Ryan, you got Calvin Ridley. So you’ve got elite wideouts along with you know they’ve always run by a committee with Freeman and Coleman at once upon a time. Now you’re going to add Gurley to the mix.
Ultimately, Stephen A. is rooting for Gurley as much as the state of Georgia is.
“I think it’s a situation that could potentially work for the former star at Georgia you’re going to have you know they’re rooting for him. He’ll be enthused and excited with something to prove possibly a chip on his shoulder since he felt like he got fired on his day off as he Tweeted. I think ultimately guys, it works for a multitude of all of those reasons.”