Los Angeles Rams: Extending Todd Gurley sets new bar for running backs

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 24: Running Back Todd Gurley II #30 of the Los Angeles Rams scores against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 24: Running Back Todd Gurley II #30 of the Los Angeles Rams scores against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Rams rewarded Todd Gurley with a hefty four-year, $60 million on Tuesday.

Right before the start of training camp, the Los Angeles Rams pulled off another surprise by making sure Todd Gurley is around for the long run with a four-year, $60 million extension. Even more exciting, the $45 million guaranteed is the highest for a running back contract in NFL history.

This deal comes as no surprise though to Rams fans, as Gurley is coming off his best season, where he was the runner-up to future Hall of Famer, Tom Brady for the NFL’s MVP award.

The Rams franchise running back rushed to the tune of 1,305 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2017 (both career highs). He also was utilized in the passing game to a heavy extent where he caught 64 passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns.

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Getting an extension done for one of the cornerstones of the Rams’ offense was vital to their future. It’s even better though that Los Angeles got this deal done now with the way the running back market will likely increase in the near future.

Just recently, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was hoping to get a long-term extension done after receiving the franchise tag for the second year in a row. Bell has voiced his frustrations with the Steelers, and will play on the tag yet again ($14.5 million), but reports are this is likely his last season with the team, according to his agent.

However, Bell did congratulate Gurley over Twitter, showing his support for his running back brethren opening the pathway for future players at the position to get the money they deserve based on production.


The final offer between the Steelers and Bell was reportedly worth $70 million over five years (according to Ian Rapoport). This comes out to $14 million annually, which is still less than Gurley’s  new deal.

So the question is, would Bell have taken the same deal Gurley got with the Rams if it was offered to him? We’ll likely never know. What we do know is that Gurley’s extension is going to set the precedent for the market of running backs who do more than just run the ball.

With Bell becoming a free agent in 2019, he will likely receive more money than Gurley next offseason. It will likely be from another team than the Steelers.

Pittsburgh could have been the team to pave the way for the new-look running back market, but instead will likely lose their franchise running back. The Rams didn’t want to suffer the same fate that the Steelers likely will.

This Gurley extension benefits the Rams in a lot of ways. In the next couple of years, you have guys like Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, and David Johnson who will all likely garner more money in their future contracts. If this does indeed happen, Los Angeles will then have Gurley at a discount compared to other players at the position who have a similar skill set.

Getting this extension done now was a large step in the right direction for the Rams, as this allows Los Angeles to take a sigh of relief by locking in a guy like Gurley long-term. It is very important that the Rams secure their key players for the future.

Before you know it, Jared Goff will be looking for an extension, so I can’t express enough how significant it was to get this deal done for the Rams with Gurley. This was a move that definitely benefits both sides from multiple standpoints.

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Of course, Rams fans want to see Aaron Donald get his deal done next, but I believe it will come in due time. Rams general manager, Les Snead commented on Donald’s deal today when the Gurley deal was announced.

With the Rams getting deals done for Brandin Cooks and Gurley this early it officially allows them to hone in on Donald. I understand the doubts concerning the negotiations between the Rams and Donald so far. But with this Gurley deal, Rams fans should be celebrating right now. The future just got a lot brighter for the team situated in the Golden State.