Reason 3 – Production waning
When you have a superstar at any NFL skilled position, it’s hard to fight the feelings of “what’s wrong” when the player’s production descends to somewhere between good and very good level. For all of the talk of running back Todd Gurley being “washed up”, playing behind a very suspicious offensive line, and running the ball at his fewest number of carries in his entire career, he still scored 14 touchdowns.
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That was good for fifth place in the 2019 NFL scoring leaders. Pause on that and contemplate for just a moment
But running backs run the ball. And in the elite class of Todd Gurley, he was very good at catching the ball as well. The problem was not that Gurley was not productive. The problem was Gurley’s production dropped dramatically, just as his compensation, or rather his impact on the team’s salary cap, was increasing just as dramatically.
Todd Gurley disappeared in the LA Rams playoff run in 2018. Injuries forced him to watch most of the action from the sidelines. When the team was hard-pressed by the media, the team assured everyone that Gurley’s workload would be managed better. And in terms of carries, it was. But his offensive impact dropped from 21 TDs to 14. His rushing yards dropped from 1,251 to 857 yards. His receiving yards dropped from 580 to 207. He was just two-thirds of his formal self. But his salary impact was scheduled to double in 2020.