There are a few points I want to make right off the top.
For starters, it's been a bizarre week in the NFC West. DeAndre Hopkins is now a member of the Cardinals, DeForest Buckner was traded by the 49ers to the Colts and Todd Gurley was released by the Rams. That last of the three, unfortunately for Gurley, is the least surprising of all. The Rams let him go on Thursday afternoon, one hour before $10.5 million of his contract became fully guaranteed.
The #Rams are releasing face of the franchise RB Todd Gurley, source says, before $10.5M becomes fully guaranteed on his contract.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 19, 2020
The second point is that it's a cruel world right now for running backs in general. Gurley, Melvin Gordon and Devonta Freeman are all now on the open market looking for a new home. Running back is an increasingly replaceable position, and it's unwise to spend big at the position, including the seemingly "generational talents." Running backs, in addition to the lack of position scarcity, have shelf lives that simply can't be trusted. Gurley only survived half of the lucrative four-year deal he signed back in 2018.
DON'T PAY RBs!!— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) March 19, 2020
Every RB that made > $4M per yr (pre-2019) is GONE from the team that gave them the deal or a pay cut.
• Todd Gurley -> cut
• Devonta Freeman -> cut
• Dion Lewis -> cut
• David Johnson -> traded
• Jerick McKinnon -> pay cut
• Lamar Miller -> not re-signed
So what will the market be for Gurley and other free agent running backs? The reality is that there won't be much of one, and that's exactly why the Seahawks should pick up the phone. Seattle needs a running back to complement Chris Carson with Rashaad Penny (knee) not expected to be ready for the start of the 2020 season. It's obvious that Gurley isn't the All-Pro player that he used to be as he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry in 2019.
While Gurley is no longer a three-down back, that's no issue for Seattle given that the Seahawks wouldn't need him to carry that sort of workload. Carson, given his injury history, shouldn't be asked to be a three-down back, either. A duo of Carson and Gurley would allow Seattle the ability to exercise extreme patience with Penny, whom the Seahawks would love to be their featured back in 2021.
Chris Carson is set to become a free agent after next season. So why not offer Gurley, who will still be just 26 in August, a two-year deal for the veteran minimum with no guarantees in the second year? If he shows well, he can be Penny's backup in 2021, and you can let Carson walk. Beyond that, Gurley might relish the opportunity to play the Rams twice a year, and he's still a big enough name to generate some buzz on the business side of the Seahawks organization as well.
Ian Rapoport named the Seahawks as a potential suitor for Gurley along with the Buccaneers and Falcons. Gurley, who is already making $7 million in 2020 off of his Rams signing bonus, is apparently looking to "prove he's still got it," according to Rapoport.
There's no telling what Gurley's expectations will be now that he's a free agent for the first time in his career. Maybe he'll have unreasonable expectations and hold out for one more sizeable payday. Maybe he'll decide to call it a day and walk away from the game all together. But maybe not, and that's why the Seahawks should at least inquire.
If there were an official metric that measured "buzz" per dollar spent, Gurley would be on top of that list. Given the replaceable nature of running backs, it would be a low-risk move in a "well, it was worth a shot" sort of way if things ultimately didn't work out.
(The good news is that Gurley has embraced the news with a side of humor.)
Damn I got fired on my day off😂 #QuaratineAndChill— Todd Gurley II (@TG3II) March 19, 2020