Todd Gurley is willing to wait his turn to get paid

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The bad news for the Rams is that they still haven’t worked out a long-term deal with defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The good news for the Rams is that their next star who is due to get paid isn’t clamoring for his own contract, yet.

“Obviously, we know Aaron Donald is the guy to get paid,” Gurley told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday night. “That’s the last thing we want to worry about is trying to get ours done when we need our best player to get paid.”

It’s an admirable approach, but it’s hardly necessary. Owner Stan Kroenke has the money, the Rams have the cap room, and Gurley has every reason to want to parlay a contract restricted by the rookie wage scale into the kind of long-term financial security that every great player deserves — especially a great player who plays a physically-demanding position like running back and who tore an ACL in college.

Whether Gurley came to the conclusion on his own or someone with the Rams led him to believe there’s a waiting line or a pecking order, that’s simply not the case. Gurley is eligible for a new deal, and the Rams can give him one now, regardless of whether or when Aaron Donald agrees to terms. For whatever reason, Gurley — the reigning NFL offensive player of the year — isn’t insisting that he get his financial reward.

“That’s not even really the focus right now,” Gurley said. “Once you win that Super Bowl, they don’t have a choice but to pay you whether it’s the Rams or any other team. Once we try to put that together and do that, everything will take care of itself. Just focus on what’s next.”

It’s good that he’s focused on a goal, but winning a Super Bowl isn’t how a player gets paid. The building of leverage and a willingness to use it is how a player gets paid. Gurley has built leverage with his performance through three seasons. He’s apparently not willing to use that leverage for now, and based on his comments from Monday night he may not be willing to use it until the Rams win a Super Bowl.

But winning a Super Bowl really isn’t the tipping point to get every player who contributed to the effort paid big money. What has Nick Foles gotten for becoming the MVP of Super Bowl LII? A spot back on the bench and not another penny on his contract.

No, teams won’t pay a guy based on team achievements or anything other than the player building a pile of chips and developing a propensity to play those chips aggressively — especially when the player is a running back on whom the team can squat for five years under his rookie deal, tag once or twice, and then move on from for a much younger, cheaper, and healthier model.

That’s the risk Gurley is running. With each passing year of wear and tear, he becomes less valuable to the Rams and, in turn, to any other team. So he needs to strike while the iron is hot, and it’s not going to get much hotter than it is right now.

20 responses to “Todd Gurley is willing to wait his turn to get paid

  1. thats the CBA rookie deal for running backs his fellow veterans voted for HIM!!! And in the meantime, SOME, advocate other leveraged players go for EVERY NICKLE, when they can get it. But since there is a salary cap, this often takes a team ultimately out of contention as they begin to experience the fallout from paying their TOP players. The results-NO SUPERBOWL!! Todd Gurley is a guy who wants to win first, and I love it. Being a running back, I think they need to be protected a bit with this rookie deal. The rookie deal needs to consider the average years playing time for a top running back today. The running backs rookie deal needs to be three years TOPS!!! Then they need to have their salary escalate. The teams today are abusing the running back on rookie deals.

  2. The Rams are in the unenviable position of having a number of good players that should be paid, In the era of salary cap management, they need to place value on each position and pay accordingly even if that means letting good and even great players leave. That’s how you stay relevant in the NFL. The sad thing is they haven’t won anything yet.

  3. The good thing is Gurley has an agent, so every decision he makes will be the correct one. At least that’s what I’ve learned from all of the agent posts on here the past few months

  4. If Gurley sits he has to pay back > $2,000,000 in pro rated signing bonus.
    Plus forgo his $2.3MM salary. And the Rams still have his rights for a 5th year, and then can tag him twice. His cap number is almost $4.4MM this year. Its not like he’s a 3rd round pick and getting 600K, he will have earned almost 14 million after this year.
    If I were the Rams I would try and work out a team friendly deal. Pay him a bit more, and lock him up long term. That takes the injury risk away for Gurley, and he gets paid, and the team gets him at a team-friendly price.

    The CBA does screw rubbing backs, thats on teh NFLPA to negotiate.

  5. “Owner Stan Kroenke has the money,…”
    How much money Stan has is irrelevant. There is a hard salary cap that all teams abide by, regardless of their owners personal finances.

  6. Who are you to criticize Gurley? If that’s approach he wants to take, let him. Dude keeps his mouth shut and plays ball. He wants to win. Seems like money is 2nd in terms of what he seems valuable in his football career. He sounds like a great young man and will deservedly get his when it’s time.
    You’re trying to sound an awful like his agent…

  7. “a running back on whom the team can squat for five years under his rookie deal, tag once or twice, and then move on from for a much younger, cheaper, and healthier model.”
    ———————————-

    Simple – don’t choose to become a RB, but a position that is more difficult to replace. As the 2017 draft class showed, a good RB can be found everywhere (Fournette, McCaffrey, Kamara, Hunt, Perine, Cook, Mixon, etc.)

  8. In a perfect NFL world, the rookie contract should only be a cheap 2 year deal and heavy on incentives/productivity/snaps played. Prove your worth in the NFL, not what you did in college against outmatched little boys.

    Teams would avoid overpaying draft busts and middle/lower round stars could get paid for playing better than expected.

  9. I have followed this site for years, and while yes players should always look out for their bank account, its almost like Florio pretends they should run over to the sideline and demand a huge deal after a big play.

  10. The Rams have roughly $260,000 in cap room. That’s not enough to sign a 7th round pick. They’re going to need to get some guys to restructure their contracts or take pay cuts just to sign their draft picks, not to mention get Aaron Donald a new deal. The only way the Rams could give Gurley a new deal now is a low base salary for 2018, little to no signing bonus, and a lot of guaranteed money in the future, but what incentive would the Rams have to do that, especially with Gurley under contract for 2 more years?

  11. fatediesel says:

    April 17, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    The Rams have roughly $260,000 in cap room. That’s not enough to sign a 7th round pick. They’re going to need to get some guys to restructure their contracts or take pay cuts just to sign their draft picks, not to mention get Aaron Donald a new deal. The only way the Rams could give Gurley a new deal now is a low base salary for 2018, little to no signing bonus, and a lot of guaranteed money in the future, but what incentive would the Rams have to do that, especially with Gurley under contract for 2 more years?

    _____________

    Time for me to educate you a bit you’re wrong on all levels. Since the rookie wage scale has coming into affect from the last CBA teams take out from what their rookies will make from the cap when the off-season first begins. So what the Rams have left in cap this year their draft pick salaries has already been taking out of it.

  12. The kid is 1 play away from a career ending injury. Check Kam Chancellor, who know don’t had several playing years left in him. I wish him well, but the NFL as the deck stacked against these talented players. They use them for cheap, and then spit them out.

  13. motleytrap says:

    April 17, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Gurley puts up more yardage and TDs than Le’Veon Bell but couldn’t be more different than him in terms of ego and maturity.

    ————

    Umm….No. Gurley did well LAST YEAR. Bell has killed it every year he has been in the league. Gurley has been in the league 3 years and has only had one good season.

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