Storm clouds gather for Todd Gurley, Rams

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It’s been clear for months that the Rams have a huge decision to make regarding running back Todd Gurley‘s contract. In the coming days and weeks, it all will be coming to a head.

With another $10.5 million in compensation under Gurley’s blockbuster deal due to become fully guaranteed on March 20, the Rams reportedly want to meet with Gurley.

The Rams surely regretted the Gurley contract, signed in June 2018, by the time its first year concluded. In 2019, he became a part-time player whose abilities and contributions simply don’t justify the terms to which the Rams have committed.

He received $21 million to sign, part of $34.5 million in guarantees that fully vested last March. If they’d cut him now, Gurley would walk away with $17.25 million per year for two seasons. (Of the $34.5 million, $31.95 million would not be subject to offset.)

Keeping Gurley beyond March 20 means that his $5.5 million base salary for 2020 along with a $5 million roster bonus for 2021 will become fully guaranteed. He’s also due make $5 million in base salary in 2021.

So it’s not hard to guess the subject of the meeting. The Rams, I believe, will tell Gurley that they want to keep him, but that they can’t justify keeping him under the terms of his current deal, which was signed before Gurley’s knee necessitated making him something less than the workhorse he’d been before signing the deal.

The Rams could (and maybe should) allow Gurley to gauge the market elsewhere, to see if anyone would offer him as much or more than whatever the Rams are willing to pay on a restructured deal. Chances are that Gurley won’t do any better than whatever the Rams would pay, especially since keeping Gurley on the roster would avoid a cap charge of $12.6 million in signing bonus acceleration and $7.55 million in a fully-guaranteed roster bonus for 2020. (They could push $8.4 million in dead money into 2021 by designating Gurley as a post-June 1 release, pending the completion of a new CBA before the start of the league year.)

Of course, Gurley may decide to simply refuse whatever the Rams offer, even if he ends up getting less elsewhere. With $34.5 million (or at a minimum $31.95 million) in hand, he can afford to take a stand on principle and to force his way to the open market.

Gurley has a short fuse when it comes to conversations about his knee, and it won’t be easy for the Rams to sell him on the idea of taking less without mentioning the elephant in the room. The moment they do could be the moment Gurley refuses to do anything other that sit and wait for another $10.5 million in guaranteed money to vest — or for the Rams to rip up the contract and make him a free agent.

67 responses to “Storm clouds gather for Todd Gurley, Rams

  1. The Rams abused Gurley and ran him into the ground. No Player should stand for that disrespect and he should demand a trade to a winning team that will appreciate his talent.

  2. Made a huge mistake with the contract (even if healthy). Fine runner when healthy, but RBs don’t last too long in that league. Brutal position.
    And same GM is still in place?

  3. He ain’t worth what he is getting paid. He agrees to less money or he is gone. And nobody else is paying big money for a broken RB.

  4. Their window has closed. Their bloated dream-team contracts have caught up with them. Goff got exposed without a top-tier workhorse running back for offenses to worry about, and all the wide receivers regressed. Doneski.

  5. This can happen to any athlete who signs an over-paid contract. You’re expected to deliver. That’s the implied promise you made when you put your name on the paper. If you can’t do it then it’s not the team’s fault they released you.

  6. Their window has closed. Their bloated dream-team contracts have caught up with them. Goff got exposed without a top-tier workhorse running back for defenses to worry about, and all the wide receivers regressed. Doneski.

  7. They have forfeited the future trying to trade and buy a super bowl. The salary cap reaper is coming.

  8. He’s done. Dumb draft pick. Taking someone that high in the draft at RB is simply dumb. It’s not worth the trade off, regardless of talent. It also would mean you have a small window to try to win, and/or will end up in cap hell, and possibly don’t have a legit QB, and if you do, you’re likely overpaying that QB on the market as well.

    It’s not just a good way to invest in teambuilding.

    The Giants will have the same issue with Barkley soon and if Tenn was WISE, they would deal Derrick Henry NOW.

  9. When he came into the league, he started off slow and kind of disappointed. Then got good. Then disappointed again. I think we’re just seeing the true player again: flashes of brilliance, but overall, not worth the big money.

  10. I don’t know how many times it has to happen before teams stop over paying (or over drafting) running backs. The keys to a good running game in the NFL are scheme, a QB who is actually a threat to throw the ball down the field so that play action will work, and a great offensive line. The ability of the RB is 4th on the list, and having a running back with great skills will not deliver you a great offensive or a lot of wins if you don’t have the first three.

  11. If he doesn’t think his knee is a problem and he refuses a pay cut, they should just tell him that they plan to run him into the ground so they get their money’s worth. Then he can have his millions without being able to walk.

  12. He should stand his ground and if the Rams cut him he can take the $31.9 million with him and then sign with a contender for the league minimum.

  13. I agree with comment above about Barkley. The Giants are in a really tricky position. One of their own making. They need too much talent to pay a potential HOF RB while continuing to be void of elite pass rushers. Listening to offers is a must.

  14. This is the main reason players should get as much as they can while they can. Teams will exercise their right to get rid of them or restructure contracts due to injury or any other reason they deem fit to use.

    Full disclosure: Was this a bad contract for the team…Hell Yeah!

  15. It sounds like most of his contract is guaranteed and not subject to offset so he could make more or about the same elsewhere. If the rams cut him, it sounds like he needs to make $13 million over 2 years to break even, which I think some team might offer. Even if he can only get $8 million over 2 years, he could switch to playing for a contender.

  16. He’s lucky he cashed in already and still has about $34M due, as he will not make significant NFL-contract money thereafter given his injury and the way clubs value the RB position. I hope he has saved his money. The NFL is just a brutal sport on player’s bodies.

  17. skolbrother33 says:
    February 7, 2020 at 11:01 am
    The Rams abused Gurley and ran him into the ground. No Player should stand for that disrespect and he should demand a trade to a winning team that will appreciate his talent.

    Similar to how the Vikings did the same thing with Adrian Peterson right?

  18. These GM’s cannot seem to learn their astute lessons on personal spending. They continue to make long term guaranteed contracts that put the whole franchise in jeopardy. :You cannot overpay and guarantee these over priced contracts and build for a superbowl run…period !

  19. How come contracts never work the other way ?? He has a contract now the team should honor it. Or do what the eagles did and dump a bunch of bad contracts on bad teams so they could remake themselves before they won there super bowl

  20. If i were in his position-assuming this article is correct-i’d say no and make them cut me.

    I am not a ram fan or gurley fan.

    Just a dollars and sense logic to me.

  21. Gurley, Fournette, Elliott, and Saquon Barkley. All great RB’s that still couldn’t take their teams to the playoffs. Meanwhile the two starting RBs in the super bowl were undrafted.

  22. Gotta make room to pay all those ex Jags they traded for, amirite?

    lulz

    As a Jags fan it is nice to see other front offices screw up from time to time.
    Picks for players that are gonna want big money (Fowler, Ramsey) big money to a RB (you just don’t do that anymore) big money to a QB that really isn’t spectacular (Hell even Dallas is playing it tight with Dak… and Dak is way better than Goff)

    Storm clouds indeed

  23. He got the contract for past results. Now that he is “Allegedly Injured” they want to cut his salary. I find it funny that when a player wants a new contract “FANS” say “he should abide by the contract he signed.” So “FANS” should say the Rams should abide by the contact they signed.

  24. RBs and the agents always get so salty that they don’t make the big contracts, but most of the time a big time running back gets a huge contract it ends up a disaster.

  25. redlikethepig says:
    February 7, 2020 at 11:14 am
    This can happen to any athlete who signs an over-paid contract. You’re expected to deliver. That’s the implied promise you made when you put your name on the paper. If you can’t do it then it’s not the team’s fault they released you.

    27 3 Rate This
    ——————————————–
    The opposite is true too. The team signed him after they’d already worn him out. They had their medical staff OK everything. Then they agree to give him the money after that. He’s not playing poorly because he’s old, or because he isn’t good. He’s playing poorly because his body is breaking down, especially with a condition he’s had since COLLEGE, and the Rams still drafted him and still gave him that contract. Good on Gurley. Let’s not act like its his fault, either. Both parties signed the contract.

  26. Terrible contract, and many people said so at the time. Even without injury, it’s simply too much to pay.

    They should do whatever allows them to stop paying him as soon as possible. There’s no point in keeping him around.

    Put the money into the OL. The OL makes an entire offense work, whereas a runner only works if the OL is executing. As the Super Bowl showed, the best way to create a good RB is to create a good overall team. Some teams, like the Rams & Cowboys, never learn.

  27. Will need to be super conservative moving forward, especially when you now have to pay your new corner like he’s a star QB.

    A wise man once said “football is a game of replacement.”

  28. Marshun Middleton says:
    I find it funny that when a player wants a new contract “FANS” say “he should abide by the contract he signed.” So “FANS” should say the Rams should abide by the contact they signed.
    ==

    They ARE abiding by the contract they signed.
    All NFL contracts are really a series of one-year deals that kick in one at a time, at the discretion of the team. The terms of the contract say a team may release a player at any time, and must pay only any guaranteed money still owed him.
    Players and their agents know that when they sign on the dotted line and start cashing paychecks. As compensation, they get a portion of the contract as guaranteed money up front, plus other signing bonuses — money they get to keep even if they turn out to be a bust, or a bench-warmer, or never play a down.
    No team can MAKE a player take less money. But the contract says they CAN tell him they won’t kick in the next year of his deal. Sometimes, as in this case, teams will tell a player the won’t renew the deal, but if he wants to stick around at a lower salary they’d like to have him back. The player can say yes or no at his discretion. Either way, the team is abiding by the terms of the contract it signed.
    When a player signs a contract he agrees to play at an agreed-upon salary, which escalates for each season the team decides to renew his deal. If he he holds out for more money before his contract expires then he’s NOT honoring the terms of his deal. It’s really that simple.
    The NFL will never give fully guaranteed contracts like MLB or the NBA, where teams are often paying millions to a player who’s a total bust, or is now playing for another team, or in some cases has been out of the league for some time. The salary cap would never allow it.

  29. This will hurt other RBs. There is still a ton of value to a workhorse RB. And brutally overpaying at any position is deadly. Overpaying a good-but-not-great player based on past results should be named after Flacco imo. The Rams Flaccoed Gurley. The Texans are going to have to Flacco Tunsil. Categorizing RBs as overpaid/drafted as a position is hardly scratching the surface of GM screwups.

  30. He should get out with his 34.5 million intact any way he can and not look back. Be thankful he’s leaving with just a knee issue.

    Since when is $34 million not a lot of money?

  31. See thebproblem is that everyone thinks this is a new injury. And the truth is its a flare up of a previous injury from Georgia. So at this point when the rams drafted him they new this! So he goes on to maintain this heeling injury that could catch up with him at any piont.he goes on to have several great seasons, and triggers this injury. Whith healing he can maintain his success and his injury. Everyones quick to judge, and hate when its not benifiting them. Or they think they know whats best for him or what hes capable of doing.

  32. “skolbrother33 says:
    February 7, 2020 at 11:01 am

    The Rams abused Gurley and ran him into the ground. No Player should stand for that disrespect and he should demand a trade to a winning team that will appreciate his talent.”

    That assumes any team wants him on his current deal

  33. blahblah5528 says:
    February 7, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    This will hurt other RBs. There is still a ton of value to a workhorse RB. And brutally overpaying at any position is deadly. Overpaying a good-but-not-great player based on past results should be named after Flacco imo. The Rams Flaccoed Gurley. The Texans are going to have to Flacco Tunsil. Categorizing RBs as overpaid/drafted as a position is hardly scratching the surface of GM screwups.

    =============

    Is that Super Bowl-winning, Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco you’re referring to?

    There might be better names you can choose, based on actual outcomes. Beckham, for starters…

  34. Rams were all in last couple of years because they were moving to LA and selling PSLs. The buy now pay later approach is going to blow up in their faces in the next couple of years, and they will be playing in a brand new empty stadium.

  35. Signed him and Goff too early and gave up two number ones for Ramsey…well..at least they have a new stadium…no team but

  36. Rams Offensive line rankings for the last 3 years :

    2017 3rd
    2018 1st
    2019 19th

    Make what you will out of Gurley’s usage but the offensive line went into a steep decline which is not going to change for 2020 no matter who is running behind that line and they don’t have the money to bring in quality FAs.

    The decline of the offensive line and teams not respecting Goffs ability to beat them have as much to do with Gurley’s decline as his durability.

    As has been mentioned the Rams mortgaged their future for 2018 & 2019 but came up empty. It is going to take a decade for them to be relevant again, they will never be relevant again as long as they have Goff at QB.

  37. Maybe if the Rams hadn’t ran his knee into the ground then he would be healthy to play. I think Gurley should tell the Rams he is not taking less.

  38. Whiners remind me of Rams.

    They’ll still be good, but unless all aspects of the offense are working, the QB isn’t good enough to overcome problems.

    The more cap they lavish on individual players, the less for depth; the more injuries hurt the overall machine; the more the QB has to overcome; the more the team declines.

  39. The structure of that contract is amazing for an NFL contract. Surprised his agent was able to get that much guaranteed at signing for a RB.

  40. The league should just stop paying running backs.No one value the position. In fact, they should just eliminate the position unless running backs are willing to take 15.00 an hour. That is more fair to the owners.

  41. “skolbrother33 says:
    February 7, 2020 at 11:01 am

    The Rams abused Gurley and ran him into the ground. No Player should stand for that disrespect and he should demand a trade to a winning team that will appreciate his talent.
    =====
    Elliot = 292 rushing attempts/season
    Smith = 294 rushing attempts/season (All time NFL leading rusher)
    Peterson = 298 rushing attempts/season (excluding 2 seasons when he had less than 50 carries)
    Gurley = 253 rushing attempts/season

    Apparently some players stand for that “disrespect,” and do quite well. Gurley, not so much.

  42. 1gallon says:
    February 7, 2020 at 11:37 am
    He should stand his ground and if the Rams cut him he can take the $31.9 million with him and then sign with a contender for the league minimum.
    ————————————————————————————
    This comment is so empty, it doesn’t deserve to be cross checked. Yet, here goes. His 31.9 is down to something like 17 mil after taxes for the past 2 seasons. Why would he sign up to play a full season for $800,000?? He could make more than that doing appearances and retiring early.

  43. dregonspengler says:
    No team can MAKE a player take less money. But the contract says they CAN tell him they won’t kick in the next year of his deal. Sometimes, as in this case, teams will tell a player the won’t renew the deal, but if he wants to stick around at a lower salary they’d like to have him back. The player can say yes or no at his discretion. Either way, the team is abiding by the terms of the contract it signed.
    When a player signs a contract he agrees to play at an agreed-upon salary, which escalates for each season the team decides to renew his deal. If he he holds out for more money before his contract expires then he’s NOT honoring the terms of his deal. It’s really that simple.
    ———————–

    But remember that the owners and players also signed another contract… the CBA. That supersedes the player contracts and gives the players the right to withhold services. So a player holding out is still honoring the terms of the lager deal that’s in play.

  44. I hope Todd gets every penny on this deal. Football is a dangerous game, and he earned his guarantees. People have no problem when a team wants to take money away from a player, but as soon as one holds out for more money they should “honor the contract they signed.” Bunch of hypocrites.

  45. Kolo Jezdec says:
    February 7, 2020 at 11:32 am
    Could this be why the Steelers were not willing to pay Le’veon Bell?

    That happened 2 years ago. How would that be connected??

  46. The only way Gurley will get traded in in a ‘Brock Osweiller’ type deal. give someone with a lot of cap space a 2nd round pick to take him off their hands

  47. Good player. Great guy. He still has value but not at the price he is getting paid. With that knee, he needs to be in a backfield that will use a two back system. It’s a shame. He had two great years with the Rams, two good years and one bad one. He was a heck of a talent when healthy.

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