Todd Gurley gets $34.5 million for two years (and possibly more)

Getty Images

On the surface, it’s a sad day for the Rams and running back Todd Gurley, as the team releases the 2017 offensive player of the year and cornerstone member of a team that played in Super Bowl LIII. At a deeper level, it’s a great day for Gurley — and an awful day for the Rams.

Gurley’s release shows that he won when he signed his second contract after only three NFL seasons. He exits with $34.5 million over two seasons, an average of $17.25 million per year at a position that simply doesn’t pay that kind of money to the best players who play it. Of the $34.5 million, $31.95 million of the money he has made and will still receive comes without any offset obligation, limiting his dollar-for-dollar credit elsewhere to $2.55 million.

The Rams had to make the move today to avoid another $10.5 million becoming fully guaranteed. If he’d been on the roster on the third day of the 2020 league year, his $5.5 million base salary for 2020 would have become fully guaranteed, and his 2021 roster bonus of $5 million would have become fully guaranteed.

That said, there’s still a chance he gets the extra $10.5 million. Because these payments were guaranteed for injury at signing, if Gurley was unable to pass a physical at the time of his release, the payments become guaranteed and Gurley’s final bill to the Rams becomes $45 million.

Even if he doesn’t become entitled to the extra $10.5 million, Gurley contract represents a huge financial blow to the Rams. They made a calculated risk to pay him after three seasons, and it became obvious after his fourth season that they never should have given him that deal, given the knee problem he developed in 2018. The decision to release Gurley after a failed effort to trade him underscores how bad the contract was for the Rams.

And, again, it underscores how good it was for Gurley. He shifted the injury risk to the team after three years, and as he embarks on his search for a new team the reality is this: He’d likely be looking for a new team anyway right now, and he’s doing so with at least $34.5 million and as much as $45 million in guaranteed payments.

15 responses to “Todd Gurley gets $34.5 million for two years (and possibly more)

  1. This shows why they should not have waived him. If they end up paying for his bad knee the 10M then what have they really gained? Saving $5M In 2022? They would have been much better off playing him this season, and trading/waiving him in 2021, if that’s what they decided next year.

  2. Smart. If you’re going to leave the NFL with a broken body, get as much money as possible while you can.

  3. somehow this doesn’t square for having one knee, potentially advanced arthritis at an early age and possibly CTE later;

    think i’d put the rock down about now;

    he’s done all a man can do on one knee;

  4. Add Shaun Alexander to the list of RBs falling off shortly after signing a big contract. Nick Chubb should hold out immediately with his knee history.

  5. thats ok bc him and melvin gordon can come to tampa either one im good then ad clowney and emanuel sanders and the first nfl super team will be born…tampa brayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

  6. Yet another reason why smart teams don’t give too much GUARANTEED money. Smart teams pay what is earned as you go, don’t bet on the come. You see this mistake all the time by over-enthusiastic teams. Sorry later.

  7. Snead = Buffoon + Goof’s contract= many losses+empty seats= a large bank account for Gurley.

  8. Running backs are only a cautionary tale because how the NFL treats them. NFL teams run their players into the ground, a lot of times when they come back from eventual injury they’re not fully healthy, just healthy enough to play.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.