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Why Are Free Agents Todd Gurley And Richard Sherman Not Signed Yet?

Free Agents

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Free Agents
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Why Are Free Agents Todd Gurley And Richard Sherman Not Signed Yet?

Free agents Todd Gurley and Richard Sherman have failed to land a spot on any NFL roster for the upcoming 2021 season.

Missing several games due to repeated injuries throughout the season robs NFL players of their chance to be trusted on the field. NFL teams prioritize certainty and focus intently on injuries to players, no matter how well those players have played in the past, in order to have confidence that they can utilize their players on the field. Unfortunately, Gurley’s and Sherman’s injuries throughout the years have created a sour taste in several teams’ mouths, especially when both believe they should earn a larger contract due to their name.

Todd Gurley

Gurley was arguably one of the best running backs at the beginning of his career and up until recently. In his first season playing in the NFL, he received 1,106 total yards while averaging 4.8 yards per carry, with his longest run tallying 71 yards. He was named NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 and represented the Rams as a first-team All-Pro in 2017 and 2018.

In July 2018, Gurley signed a 4-year, 60 million dollar contract extension to play for the Rams, making him the highest-paid running back in the NFL, but Gurley suffered arthritis in his knee originally caused by an ACL tear in college and his stats dropped drastically in 2019. Gurley went from averaging 4.9 yards per carry and receiving a total of 1,251 yards in 2018 to averaging 3.8 yards per carry and receiving a total of 857 yards in 2019, and the Rams released Gurley after his performance.

Gurley might not have been released from the Rams if his knee had not hindered his 2019 campaign. Although the Atlanta Falcons signed Gurley to play during 2020 and general manager Thomas Dimitroff said his organization had great faith in Gurley despite his knee injury, they only offered him a one-year contract and did not offer him an extension after his performance dipped further in 2020.

His knee and the steady decline of his play illustrate why Gurley is not receiving big offers from NFL teams. Teams have shown their lack of faith in his abilities due to his knee restraint, and in 2019, doctors believed Gurley would not perform his best in the coming seasons.

“Without personally examining him, my answers will obviously be very generalized, but unfortunately I believe Gurley has peaked and will not be able to repeat his record-breaking effectiveness,” Dr. Jesse Morse, who works at Florida Orthopedic Specialists said.

“He could possibly have one to two more years of elite top-five running back talent, but he will likely lose a step.”


Richard Sherman

Sherman is a nine-year veteran cornerback for the NFL who began his career with the Seattle Seahawks. While in Seattle, he earned NFC’s Defensive Player of the Month in 2013, was a four-time Pro Bowler, caught 32 interceptions, and won a Super Bowl ring in 2014.

After he suffered a ruptured right Achilles in November 2017, he was released by his former team in 2018. Since he was turning 30 at the time and was still recovering from Achilles’ injuries, he was forced to miss the last seven games of the season and lost his spot on Seattle’s roster.

The San Francisco 49ers offered Sherman a 3-year, 39 million dollar contract in 2018. With the 49ers, Sherman received All-Pro and recorded three inceptions, one touchdown, and 61 total tackles in 2019. He also helped the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs, though his poor performance was part of the reason San Francisco did not emerge with a victory. Sherman was ready for another 49er season until he was placed on injured reserve for a calf injury, and he missed over 10 games in 2020.

After missing a substantial amount of games and saying it was not likely for him to return to the 49ers in December, reluctance around the league to sign Sherman is evident, as he has been unable to find a team merely three months before the regular season starts.

Sherman mentioned retiring by the age of 35 and, as he is 33 already, he may want to consider retiring since he is unable to find a deal for the upcoming season. Gurley had slightly more success and visited the Baltimore Ravens in hopes of signing a contract, but he left without a deal.

Both Gurley and Sherman believe they should be paid well due to their time on the field in prior seasons, but there is a clear, steady decline in both of the players’ performances due to injuries and missed games. If both free agents want to play this season, they need to be rational in their decision-making before this upcoming season starts.

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