The chickens have come home to roost on a contract that, in hindsight, the Rams never should have given to running back Todd Gurley.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Rams currently are in discussions regarding a possible Gurley trade.
It won’t be easy. He gets a $7.55 million roster bonus that became fully guaranteed last year. His $5.5 million base salary for 2020 becomes fully guaranteed soon, as does a $5 million 2021 roster bonus.
So the Rams, who already have guaranteed Gurley $34.5 million for only two seasons with Gurley under this deal, now face another $10.5 million becoming fully guaranteed.
Trading or cutting Gurley would trigger a $12.6 million cap charge. That number could be reduced to $4.2 million this year and $8.4 million next year by cutting Gurley with a post-June 1 designation.
Keeping him entails a cap charge of $17.25 million for 2020.
Complicating the situation is Gurley’s knee. He’s not the workhorse he was when he signed the contract in June 2018, and his performance simply doesn’t justify his compensation. Thus, the Rams likely will have to pay part of his contract or send net draft-pick compensation to Gurley’s new team (like the Brock Osweiler hot-potato trade) in order to make a deal happen.
Also, it won’t be easy to get a physical conducted in the COVID-19 environment, and no team will want to trust a stranger to the organization to inspect Gurley’s knee properly before giving him a thumb’s up or a thumb’s down.
For Gurley, the deal represents two thumb’s up. If he’d waited one more year, he never would have gotten the money. For the Rams, it’s a deal they surely regret — and there’s likely no good way out of the corner into which the Rams have painted themselves.