Running back Todd Gurley got a big contract from the Rams this week that may have done more than just set him up to make a lot of money over the next few years.
It could also lead to big deals for other running backs after years of seeing bigger deals flow to players at other positions. Gurley’s deal is a quantum leap over the one Devonta Freeman signed with the Falcons — it was the previous leaded for average salary per year on a multi-year deal — and Rams General Manager Les Snead said that the deal will “blaze the new standard” for players like David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott and Le'Veon Bell in the years to come.
Gurley said that’s something he’s happy to do for his peers.
“I’m just happy to even be in a position to take the next step for us running backs,” Gurley said to Albert Breer of SI.com. “And to be able to get closer to what a receiver or a D-end makes, it’s pretty good for us. There are a lot of great running backs in the league, and their time will definitely come. And when it’s time for them to get paid, hopefully my part has played a role in it.”
While it remains to be seen how many teams will follow the Rams’ lead, seeing someone break through for the first time since Adrian Peterson in 2011 will likely have a copycat effect around the league as long as other backs can come to the table with the kind of production that Gurley provided the Rams last season.