Free Agent Todd Gurley should join Panthers RB group
By: Jake Rajala
The Carolina Panthers entered the 2021 offseason desperate for change. Matt Rhule and the Panthers knew that they were getting All-Pro Christian McCaffrey back and healthy. Still, the fourth-place NFC South team from a year ago was widely aware that they needed a boost in their arsenal if they wanted to head in a winning direction.
The Panthers made a smart move by acquiring the young, cheaper Sam Darnold at the QB position. On defense, the organization drafted Jaycee Horn with the eighth overall pick. Numerous other valuable moves were made like the signing of Dan Arnold at tight end, inking Haason Reddick at defensive end, and the addition of Denzel Perryman to the linebacker unit. The Panthers undoubtedly boast a new look, sharper squad as training camp approaches.
Indeed, training camp approaches, but it’s still the offseason and there’s still time to focus on improving the roster before the pads come on for the Panthers and the 31 other ball clubs. When looking at the Panthers, they are a team that could use more talent at a few spots. In particular, CAR could use more firepower at the RB position.
Free-agent RB Todd Gurley would be the perfect fit for coach Rhule’s offensive attack. The Panthers boast CMAC, but there’s hardly an ounce of proven ability behind McCaffrey. Behind the number one RB spot, lies fourth-round rookie Chubba Hubbard and second-year UDFA Rodney Smith.
Gurley is a mere 26 years old, he’s an ironman RB (played 14+ games in each of the last six seasons), and he brings value in the rushing and passing game. He recorded roughly 5,000 combined yards and 54 total touchdowns across a three-season span (2017-2019). In his most previous season, he wasn’t an electric force behind the dreadful Falcons OL, but he had several long runs and bruising TD runs, which helped show that his knees still have juice and he can be relied on with even a heavy load.
Gurley may not be the same player that he was as an All-Pro in 2018, but he could be involved and provide noticeable production in various ways. In a division where the Panthers play the Saints elite run defense twice a year, the Bucs dominant front seven twice a season, a slight boost from Gurley’s all-around ability could go a long way. His presence could especially be valued in short-yardage situations, where his strength could be utilized and CMAC could sit out and stay fresher.
Gurley signed a one-year – 5.5 million dollar deal with the Atlanta Falcons last season. He will likely garner around four million per season on his next team. The Panthers sit 11th in the league in cap space, so they have the ammunition to ink the former stud RB. If Gurley and the Panthers have a mutual interest in the near future, or if the Panthers feel the need to get more stability at halfback during training camp, it would be wise to reel in Gurley’s services. If Gurley does come to Charlotte and proves to be a quality player, the Panthers could have a superb tandem for years to come.