The news that the Falcons have agreed to terms with a former XFL player raised an interesting point regarding a much more high profile acquisition that the Falcons have made during the ongoing free agency period.
The Falcons have said not a word about agreeing to terms with running back Todd Gurley.
The revised rules of the 2020 offseason, as influenced by the coronavirus pandemic, permit teams to announce a deal before a contract is signed and before a physical is conducted. Other teams (like the Texans as to receiver Randall Cobb) have done it. The Falcons have chosen otherwise as to Gurley.
Even if/when Gurley officially signs, his one-year contract surely will hinge on passing a physical with the Falcons. And that physical won’t be administered until Gurley, who remains in L.A., can travel to Atlanta for full and complete examination by team doctors.
In the interim, the deal could (in theory) fall through. The Ravens were supposed to be signing Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers, and then before the deal was done, Brockers ended up back with the Rams. Although there’s currently no reason to think that kind of L.A. lightning will strike again, no NFL deal is done until it’s done. So until the Gurley-to-Falcons deal is done, a Gurley-back-to-Rams deal could still happen.
Gurley may not be inclined to do that, for a couple of reasons. On the surface, his claim that he didn’t see his release coming seems ridiculous. At a deeper level, and as Peter King explained it on Friday’s PFT Live, it’s possible that Gurley truly didn’t see it coming because coach Sean McVay has an ultra-positive, upbeat, rah-rah-go-go attitude that never revealed to Gurley any hint that he was anything other than McVay’s guy. If so, Gurley may have a hard time rebuilding trust with his former team, if his former team decides to try to pry him away from the Falcons.
Then there’s the fact that, if he ultimately fails his Falcons physical, Gurley arguably will be entitled to another $10.5 million in guaranteed money from the Rams, since the money the Rams avoided owing Gurley by cutting him on March 19 was guaranteed for injury.
Bottom line: No deal is done until it’s done. And Gurley’s deal with the Falcons isn’t done. And things could get interesting if for some reason it never gets done.