Todd Gurley might not have been the "franchise guy'' for the Atlanta Falcons, but could he have a resurgence with the Los Angeles Rams? His other former employer is now in need of a running back.
Rams second-year running back Cam Akers suffered a torn Achilles during practice Tuesday. The former Florida State star is expected to miss the entire 2021 season.
Akers showed in glimpses that he could be the next big thing in Sean McVay's system as a second-round pick. He averaged 113.1 yards from scrimmage over the final seven games of 2020, including two postseason appearances against Seattle and Green Bay.
Ultimately, Akers was the replacement for Gurley, who was released before the start of the 2020 season. Could this be another rental for the Rams on the way to a Super Bowl run?
McVay has said that Los Angeles feels comfortable with the running backs they have in place. Darrell Henderson was a 1,000-yard rusher for Memphis in 2018. Xavier Jones, Raymond Calais and rookie Jake Funk also are on the roster.
An early look into training camp could show that without Akers, the Rams are missing an offensive piece. What to do now?
Calling Gurley is an option.
The former All-Pro runner signed a one-year deal to play for his hometown team in Atlanta last fall. Things were fine early but soured as the season progressed. The 26-year-old averaged a career-worst 3.5 yards per run and managed to have career-lows in rushing yards (678) and carries (195).
Injuries have derailed the three-time Pro Bowler . He's suffered a torn ACL, multiple knee setbacks and that arthritis talk has never faded.
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Those lingering concerns were part of the reason for his release from the Rams just two years after signing a four-year, $60 million extension. The other part was due to the production in 2019, in which he posted just 3.8 yards per carry and 4.2 yards per touch.
In the red zone that year, Gurley was a touchdown machine. He scored 14 times from scrimmage, but his 857 rushing yards were a worst in Los Angeles.
Will GM Les Snead buy into it again?
The one thing that is helpful is Gurley's familiarity with the offense. He knows what McVay is looking for in zone reads, power runs and plays out of the backfield.
But does the team trust him to be healthy? For now, no. If they did, they wouldn't have felt the need to make him available via trade last offseason.
Keep in mind that the Rams are also still on the hook for $8.4 million of the money owed from his mega-deal. Would they want to pay an extra salary on that to have him back on the roster if he's nothing more than a backup?
Snead and Co. would have to make sure he's at full swing should they reach a deal. Indications during his time in Atlanta might show he's regressed even more. Should he be stronger than ever, he'd still be taking a league-minimum since the Rams are giving him millions not to play for them now.
Another name to watch for would be former Vikings All-Pro Adrian Peterson. Although he's 36, he's two years removed from being a top-five rusher in Washington. He still feels like his best days are on the gridiron, even if not as a lead runner.
"My body feels good. I came out healthy from last season," Peterson told Aaron Wilson of SportsTalk 790 in Houston. "My body feels strong. I still feel young. I still feel good. I'm ready to play ball."
Crazier things have happened, and Gurley will be only 27 in August. It seems unlikely. But maybe it's enough for a second look.
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