With leading rusher Todd Gurley set to become an unrestricted free agent, the Atlanta Falcons will be looking to sign a running back for the 2021 season.
Gurley has expressed interest in returning to the Falcons and playing under Arthur Smith. Will the Falcons and Gurley be able to come to terms after the former Ram signed a one year deal at roughly $5.5M. The Falcons didn’t get value in 2020, but Gurley is still clearly a talented player.
The Falcons could look to free agency to replace Gurley who led the team with 675 yards rushing last season. Here’s a list of several targets set to hit the market.
Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers
Jones will be the hottest name on the free agent market. The 27 year old Packer was the leading rusher among free agents with 1,104 yards. With only 651 carries in four years with Green Bay, he still has plenty of mileage. Jones was at the back end of his rookie deal ($650K in 2020), and he will likely get a multi-year offer that could put him out of the Falcons range.
James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers
Conner rushed for 721 yards on only 169 carries with the Steelers in 2020. The 26 year old made roughly $800K with Pittsburgh in the last year of his contract. The Steelers looking interested in bringing Conner back, but he will have plenty of options in 2021.
Mike Davis – Carolina Panthers
The Falcons know first hand what Mike Davis (28) is capable of; Davis bruised the Falcons in Week 5 with 149 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. At $3M in 2020, Davis was still paid roughly half of what the Falcons paid Gurley. An Atlanta native, Davis has never been the full time feature back, but he knows the Falcons, knows the division, and might be willing to sign a short term deal.
Wayne Gallman – New York Giants
Like Davis, Gallman is an Atlanta area native. A power runner, Gallman rushed for 682 yards (career high) with the Giants. He’s 26 years old with 338 career rushes. Gallman is limited as a receiver out of the backfield which could hold back his value, but he’s good in pass protection and short yardage situations.
Leonard Fournette – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fournette was the the most talented running back I’d seen coming out of high school since Adrian Peterson. Jacksonville made him the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and his talent was on display at the Super Bowl. He was a relative bargain at $2M for the Buccaneers. Tampa looks interested in bringing him back, but it might be worth a trip up I-75 if Atlanta can put a package together.