Following much speculation over star running back Todd Gurley‘s future with the Los Angeles Rams, the team has elected to part ways with him on Thursday. That has opened the door wide open to him exploring the free-agent market for his next landing spot in the NFL. There should be a handful of teams that express their interest in acquiring him. Although it’s quite early in the process, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could quickly emerge as the ideal destination for Gurley to play next to Tom Brady.
Rams release Todd Gurley
For the last several days, the chatter around the Rams had focused on Gurley’s future.
That led to the dialogue quickly shifting over to the Rams making him available for a trade, but that didn’t wind up coming to fruition as the team elected to part ways with him on Thursday afternoon before his four-year, $57.5 million began to kick in with the 2020 season salary.
Gurley’s production had dipped significantly last season as he failed to crack 900 rushing yards on the season and didn’t post a single 100 rushing yard performance. He was also dealing with lingering issues with his knee that forced the Rams to operate on a rest schedule to keep him fresh throughout the season.
During his five-year stretch with the Rams, Gurley was highly productive as he’s second in the league with 5,405 rushing yards, first with 58 touchdowns, second with 7,494 total scrimmage yards, and first with 70 total touchdowns.
Buccaneers need backfield help
It has been a few years since Tampa Bay has had any stability in their running game, which has been a part of their issues offensively.
The team did see a solid second season from Ronald Jones, who had 724 rushing yards and six touchdowns. However, the Buccaneers were 24th with 95.1 rushing yards per contest. Jones demonstrated the ability to be a big-play factor, but the addition of a proven commodity like Gurley would be a definite step in the right direction.
There isn’t any clarity about whether he can still be a workhorse back due to his lingering knee issues, but he can certainly fulfill playing a significant role in the running game. What will play in his favor is that he has shown to be a stable pass-catching asset.
That could open up avenues for Gurley to play a significant role in the offense behind the future Hall of Famer in the backfield. It also shown throughout Brady’s career that having a stable running back has helped him find a greater amount of success, which could be more crucial in this likely last chapter of his career.
Buccaneers likely Todd Gurley’s best chance to win
If Gurley is open to taking less on his next deal than what he could garner elsewhere, the Buccaneers could be the opportunity where he has the best chance to compete for the playoffs.
The lack of significant interest in him on the trade market should make it clear that teams are cautious. Tampa Bay looks to be in a win-now mode with the addition of Brady, and a push for that could see them continue to build their roster with that approach.
Yes, the Buccaneers play in a tough division that features the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and Carolina Panthers, they do have some promising pieces in place on both sides of the ball. Tampa Bay already has some strong offensive talent such as Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Cameron Brate, and O.J. Howard, among others.
It could be a window of opportunity for Gurley not only to prove that he still has plenty left in the tank but also potentially vie for a Super Bowl.