Some NFL free-agent signings just make too much sense to not happen.
Look at, say, the Los Angeles Chargers paying up for former Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Corey Linsley this offseason in an effort to protect Justin Herbert. Or the Kansas City Chiefs kicking off an offensive line rebuild in front of Patrick Mahomes with star guard Joe Thuney.
Similar thoughts apply when looking at the list of best free agents left on the market. Some team's needs are so obvious entering training camps that it's a wonder they haven't yet signed certain players.
Based on schematic fit, team trajectory and the status of each free agent's individual market, here's a look at the no-brainer signings that should happen as training camps begin.
RB Todd Gurley to the Los Angeles Rams
Yes, things didn't end so well between Todd Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams back in 2020.
But the Rams just lost 2020 second-round pick Cam Akers to a season-ending torn Achilles in late July, derailing a breakout-of-the-year candidate and centerpiece of the offense. That leaves the unit leaning on the unproven Darrell Henderson and 2020 undrafted free agent Xavier Jones, barring an addition.
Last year in his first stint with a new team, Gurley averaged just 3.5 yards per carry over 195 attempts, but he scored nine times and caught 25 passes. But it's worth pointing out Atlanta won just four games, heavily favored the pass and just generally...wasn't so great.
While Gurley's injury issues derailed his mega contract with the Rams last time around, he played in 15 games last year, and his workload wasn't that different from his 2019 responsibilities. The Rams will just have to get over the pride aspect of foolishly giving him a huge deal that still has $8.4 million in dead money on the books in 2021 from the last go-round.
If the Rams are serious about putting the best chips around Matthew Stafford, Gurley is the top veteran option available and could have a big impact in a rotation—and it sure doesn't hurt that he already knows the offense, which puts him at another advantage over other backs.
Edge Justin Houston to Indianapolis Colts
Elsewhere on the going home front, it's hard to imagine Justin Houston playing anywhere besides Indianapolis.
Yes, Houston spent the first eight years of his career in Kansas City, but he's been a staple of the Colts defense for two years now. Over those two seasons, he's accumulated 19 sacks with 53 pressures, right in line with his normal production.
Now 32, Houston hasn't shown many signs of slowing, and last year he did his damage on just 59 percent of the defense's snaps. That's why a would-be contender like the Pittsburgh Steelers had showed interest in him, according to NFL reporter Jason La Canfora.
For the Colts, there's no reason not to bring Houston back on a rotational basis again. First-rounder Kwity Paye is of course expected to bolster the pass rush, but a veteran who can serve as mentor and keep both guys fresh sure couldn't hurt.