With the rest of the country on hold, the NFL world, somewhat surprisingly, carries on. On the second day of the 2020 league year, free agency continued and one of the biggest names in fantasy football was given his walking papers.
Todd Gurley Cut
Thursday was a big day for RB Todd Gurley, one of the league’s top talents and the near-unanimous RB1 less than two years. If he was on the Rams roster as of 4:00 p.m. eastern on Thursday, Gurley would earn a $10.5 million roster bonus. That did not happen. After multiple reports suggesting the Rams were engaging teams in Gurley trade talks, the team ultimately released their star back. The move saves $5.5 million this season.
Gurley, still just 25 years old, saw a decrease in his role and production in 2019 after some serious injury concerns and the writing was on the wall that the Rams no longer consider Gurley worthy of the $60 million contract they gave him in the summer of 2018.
The Rams had been considering their options with Gurley all offseason, as reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and NFL.com’s Mike Silver. Both suggested Gurley could be traded and the team must have gotten some hope earlier in the week when the Cardinals were able to find a taker for their highly-paid RB David Johnson. The Falcons and Dolphins were reportedly interested in trading for Gurley, but no deal could be closed by the afternoon deadline.
Along with Atlanta and Miami, Gurley could fit with the Chargers or Buccaneers, though the limited market for another former Los Angeles back, Melvin Gordon, cannot be encouraging for Gurley’s future.
Speaking of Gordon, there was a report that the Bills and Gordon had a mutual interest in one another. The number of teams with wide-open starting backfield spots are drying up and it appears that Gordon will have to settle for a committee role.
Payton Tests Positive
Since the legal tampering period began on Monday, NFL fans have been able to use the flurry of news as an escape from the reality our nation and world is dealing with in recent weeks. Those two worlds converged Thursday when Saints HC Sean Payton announced he had tested position for coronavirus. Payton also shared on Twitter that he was feeling better and had not dealt with any respiratory symptoms. Payton encouraged people to “heed the warnings of government officials, stay inside and behave responsibly.”
Lions Deal Slay
For well over a month, CB Darius Slay has been on the trade block. Early in February, Slay made it clear he wanted to be the highest-paid cornerback in the league and a week later, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Lions had spoken to multiple teams about a trade. On Thursday, the Lions got a deal done, sending Slay to the Eagles for third and fifth-round picks. Slay and the Eagles immediately agreed to a new three-year, $50 million contract extension, including $30 million in guaranteed money.
While the Gurley news may have been a surprise to some, this roster move was not. The Broncos waived veteran QB Joe Flacco just one year after signing him to be their starter. Flacco struggled through eight games before suffering a season-ending injury. Flacco is reportedly still dealing with issues related to his neck injury but is expected to be ready to play in 2020. With the strong free agent and rookie quarterback classes, Flacco will have to settle for a backup position.
Other Free Agent Signings
Pittsburgh signed OL Stefan Wisniewski to a two-year deal. … The Giants inked QB Colt McCoy to serve as Daniel Jones’ primary backup. … New England signed former Chargers s Adrian Phillips to a two-year deal. … The Panthers signed recently released WR Keith Kirkwood, formerly of the Saints. … Arizona signed LB De’Vondre Campbell to a one-year deal. … The Bengals signed CB Mackensie Alexander, formerly of the Vikings. … The Redskins signed TE Logan Thomas.
Trade rumors have been swirling around franchise-tagged DE Yannick Ngakoue, but the Jaguars say they have not had any trade discussions with their star defender. … The Saints exercised team options on CB Marshon Lattimore and OT Ryan Ramczyk, locking each in through 2021. … The 49ers restructured the contract of RB Jerick McKinnon. … The Rams released LB Clay Matthews. … The Rams might not be done as they have reportedly also made WR Brandin Cooks available for trade. … The Vikings re-signed K Dan Bailey.