In the spring of 2015, the Miami Dolphins loved Todd Gurley.
The running back was coming out of the University of Georgia with a history of elite play and knee injuries and there was no certainty he would be able to play that fall due to his latest injury setback. And yet, the entire Earth knew the Dolphins, holding the No. 14 pick of the draft, would love a shot at Gurley.
At the NFL required predraft presser the Dolphins gathered general manager Dennis Hickey and assistant GM Eric Stokes in front of the media. And knowing Miami’s love for both Gurley and secrecy, I asked the following question:
“Todd Gurley ... Go.”
And while Hickey remained silent, Stokes gave a response so as to not insult my intelligence but also not divulge any team strategy.
I don’t know what Miami’s draft strategy was to actually land Gurley, but I know that when the then-St. Louis Rams picked Gurley with the No. 10 pick in the first round, the Dolphins were bitterly disappointed.
Fast forward five seasons and 5,404 yards for Gurley. He became a free agent at 4 p.m. on Thursday when the Rams, now in Los Angeles, released their running back.
And now Gurley, the subject of trade talks for days, is available.
And the Dolphins, who were smart enough to not be the lone team to jump at a trade during those talks, can sign Gurley to a contract with no compensation if they want.
And now you’re thinking ...
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Didn’t the Dolphins agree to terms with Jordan Howard already?
Aren’t the Dolphins going to draft a running back if they can?
Don’t they already have a couple of bodies in their running back room, including Kalen Ballage?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
And this: The Dolphins are expected to check in on Gurley’s price.
I’m not saying the team will go hard at Gurley. In fact, that was not the plan at all, based on what I have been told. But I was told it was not the plan to go hard at him or Melvin Gordon as long as their price tags were outrageous.
Gordon, remember, opened the bidding for his services above $10 million per season. That’s the reason he has signed with, yeah, no one.
And Gurley was under contract to the Rams and would have required a trade that brought that ominous deal with him. Which is the reason no one made the trade.
But Gurley is available and there is no baggage of a terrible contract anymore. There’s baggage of declining production and an ongoing injury history but not of a big contract.
So due diligence time.
And this is where I put in my two cents that mean absolutely nothing to the Miami Dolphins (most of the time): Please, don’t.
I understand due diligence. I understand that the opportunity to study an opportunity is alluring.
But, please, walk away.
Gurley is only 25 years old. But he looks spent.
He went from 4.9 yards per carry in 2018 when the Rams went to the Super Bowl to 3.8 yards per carry last year as the team missed the playoffs. He’s been dealing with ongoing wear on the knees. And he’s just not the same explosive guy.
According to Next Gen Stats, Gurley hit 19 MPH on a run 13 times in 2018.
He managed that kind of explosion and speed only three times in 2019.
Have I mentioned that he ongoing COVID crisis makes getting physicals done for these guys very difficult? Have I mentioned Gurley has knee issues?
Look, the Dolphins still want another running back, maybe two.
A cheaper than usual Gurley could be a temptation.
Don’t do it, Chris Grier.