3 reasons why the LA Rams had to release Todd Gurley

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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LA Rams Todd Gurley
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Reason 1 – A horrendous contract

In today’s NFL, running backs are no longer the highest-paid players in the league. Unfortunately, the LA Rams did not get the memo before the team signed running back Todd Gurley to a massive extension, filled with salary guarantees, roster bonuses, and heavy compensation.

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The largest salary cap hit for any running back in the NFL besides Gurley was the New York Jets’ contract for $15.5 million with Le’Veon Bell. And of course, having quarterback Sam Darnold on a rookie contract gives them the financial flexibility to do so.  In 2020, the Rams tied up over $36 million in 2020 over quarterback Jared Goff, then topped that off with a $17.5 million hit for Gurley. Since we are there, we might as well shine the spotlight on WR Brandin Cooks‘ horrendous $16.8 million 2020 salary-cap impact as well.

All three players are among the top compensated NFL players for their respective positions. And all three had huge downturns in production for 2019. Whatever the cause, the Rams eliminated any fighting chance of getting an easy fix installed on the fly this offseason.

The contract business was not Gurley’s fault. His agent negotiated to get his client the best deal possible. Gurley simply signed on the bottom line. But much like employers who overhire new staff, only to lay them off within six months, the team signed multiple contracts with excessive guarantees which will now force the team to part ways with productive players and prevent the team from signing those who could contribute in 2020.

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The Rams parted ways with Todd Gurley in 2020. But the team also parted ways with many other players, some of whom wanted to stay. In the end, it wasn’t Gurley’s fault that he signed a huge contract. And in that perspective, it’s not the Rams fault that the team had no choice but to release him.