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NFL roundup: Falcons sign Todd Gurley as Freeman's replacement

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley speaks during Opening Night for Super Bowl LIII on Monday Jan. 28, 2019 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Brett Davis / USA TODAY Sports

Todd Gurley signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons less than 24 hours after he was released by the Los Angeles Rams.

Gurley was due a $10.5 million bonus with the Rams on Thursday and was cut before the end of the NFL business day in a cap-related move.

In Atlanta, the University of Georgia All-American is back to his college roots and replaces Devonta Freeman. Freeman was released by the Falcons on Wednesday.

The question for the Falcons is which version of Gurley they're getting. The 25-year-old had 17 rushing touchdowns in 2018 and was a First Team All-Pro for the second straight year, but he missed the final two games of the season with knee issues that limited his chances in the playoffs and Super Bowl defeat to the New England Patriots.

Gurley rushed for a career-low 857 yards in 2019 and faced questions about the health of his left knee.

After being named NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2017, Gurley was handed a four-year, $60 million extension that wasn't set to kick in until this season. He had two years remaining on his rookie deal when the Rams re-upped with him.

But in 2018, Gurley began experiencing knee problems and his production dropped.

In five seasons with the Rams, Gurley rushed for 5,404 yards and 58 touchdowns. He added 218 receptions for 2,090 yards and 12 touchdowns.

QB Roethlisberger throws pain free

Ben Roethlisberger ramped up his throwing program six months removed from surgery on his right elbow, and the Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback is giddy about the results.

"I'm throwing without pain for the first time in years," Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Some games, I would have a little pain. Some games, I would have a lot of pain. But in the New England game and the Seattle game [in 2019], it got to be too much. To be able to throw without pain now? That feels nice. That's a nice feeling. I know I'm not getting any younger, but I feel younger because I don't have any pain."

Roethlisberger, 38, went on injured reserve after Week 2 and required surgery on the elbow on his throwing arm.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert couldn't hide his own optimism regarding Roethlisberger's return to the field in 2020 when pressed for an update at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.

Colbert said he expects Roethlisberger to be at full strength for the start of the 2020 regular season. That's news because Roethlisberger has been operating at less than 100 percent.

Around the league

  • The Denver Broncos and free-agent running back Melvin Gordon agreed to a two-year, $16 million contract, according to multiple reports.

  • Defensive end Chris Wormley was traded from the Baltimore Ravens to the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday. The Steelers also will receive a seventh-round pick in the 2021 draft, with Baltimore netting a fifth-rounder in 2021.

  • Free agent tight end Eric Ebron agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL Network reported.

  • Offensive lineman Andrus Peat agreed to a five-year contract with the New Orleans Saints.

  • Kansas CIty OL Stefen Wisniewski agreed to a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Thursday night.