Todd Gurley’s tenure with the Los Angeles Rams did not last as long as expected as the team has released the former All-Pro running back.
The Los Angeles Rams have made a couple of moves this offseason, but none as surprising as the one made on Thursday afternoon.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported that the Rams released their Pro-Bowl running back Todd Gurley after five years with the team. With this occurring, teams interested in Gurley will surely flock to try to sign him to a team-friendly deal. The question is how did the Rams come to this conclusion with Gurley?
Todd Gurley’s Health
Gurley was a relatively healthy running back for the beginning of his Rams tenure as he played in 58 out of a possible 64 games for the first four seasons. He racked up over 1,000+ rushing yards and 580+ receiving yards in the latter two of those seasons as he peaked in those seasons with new Coach Sean McVay. Gurley also racked up 40 touchdowns combined rushing and receiving in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
However, halfway into the 2018 season Gurley’s knee starting acting up and he starting seeing reduced snaps. This was especially profound when the Rams signed veteran running back C.J. Anderson towards the end of the season. Anderson started gobbling up snaps and reducing Gurley’s workload near the end of the season as well as through the playoff run.
In the 2018 Super Bowl against the Patriots, Gurley got more touches than Anderson, but did not look the same and there was a mystery about his usage. It was found out later that season that Gurley had tendinitis in his left knee, which caused the Rams to curb his usage.
Again in 2019, the same thing occurred at least near the beginning of the season. Gurley and backup running back Malcolm Brown ended up alternating offensive drives in the first regular-season game against the Carolina Panthers.
This continued for a while, until the Rams started losing games consistently. Then, Gurley’s usage suddenly surged upwards, but he could never quite be the same player he was in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Gurley’s Contract Extension
Before the 2018 season, the Rams thought it would be wise to sign Gurley to a 4-year, $57.5 million contract extension with a $21 million dollar signing bonus, $45 million guaranteed, and an average salary of $14.375 million per year, per Spotrac.
The contract extension would start in the 2020 season as he still had two seasons left on his rookie contract for 2018 and 2019. Gurley was in his peak in the 2018 season as noted above, but for the 2019 season, Gurley was not himself. He did not look like the player he was at his peak years for the Rams in 2017 and 2018.
His production in his fifth year for 2019 was only 857 rushing yards and only had 207 receiving yards. Those were his lowest totals in combined yardage for his career. He did score 14 touchdowns in that season, but he faced numerous questions about his knee throughout that season.
Todd Gurley has had a pretty good career up to this point. However, combined with his questionable knee issues, durability questions, and his bloated contract, the Los Angeles Rams felt Gurley would not be worth his contract extension that he signed prior to 2018. They decided to pull the plug now and eat the dead money cap hit of $20.15 million before it could get any worse.