Yes, Todd Gurley won big with his 2018 contract

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In the aftermath of the Rams’ decision to cut running back Todd Gurley with three years left on his contract, a debate has emerged regarding whether Gurley won or lost. Some think Gurley lost because the Rams decided to tear up the second deal with multiple seasons remaining — and with nearly $37.5 million in unpaid compensation.

The reality is that Gurley won. He won big. And here’s why.

First, the second contract paid out $34.5 million over the first two years. That’s $17.25 million. For a running back. No running back makes that kind of money.

Second, Gurley’s agent structured the deal to force the Rams to make a quick decision in 2020 as to whether they wanted to continue it for a third year. By including a trigger that would have resulted in another $10.5 million becoming fully guaranteed, the Rams had to cut Gurley on the second day of the league year, allowing him to quickly land with the Falcons.

Without that term, the Rams could have squatted on Gurley indefinitely, waiting for a chance to trade him if, for example, a team gets through the draft without addressing its needs at the position or if a starter gets injured. Then, if no trade opportunities had emerged, Gurley would have been dumped just before the start of the season, at a time when the Falcons and every other team would have been ready to go at the position, and thus would have had no need for Gurley.

Third, the Rams didn’t have to give Gurley a second contract in 2018, after only three NFL seasons. If they’d waited simply a year, they never would have offered him the package that they did, based on a knee that became problematic throughout what became the first year of the new contract. Gurley struck while the iron was the hottest it was ever going to be, getting $34.5 million for two seasons of football that, frankly, didn’t live up to the standard that laid the foundation for his payday.

Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, the Rams didn’t have to give him a second contract at all. They could have done what the Chargers did to Melvin Gordon, refusing to deviate from the four-year rookie deal or the fifth-year options, paying Gurley $13.823 million for four years and $9.63 million for the option year and letting him walk away with $23.45 million for five seasons. Instead, they ripped up the contract after three years and $11.5 million and giving him $34.5 million for two more years.

That’s $46 million for five years — nearly twice what Gurley would have gotten if the Rams had simply “honored the contract” that Gurley had signed in 2015.

27 responses to “Yes, Todd Gurley won big with his 2018 contract

  1. Gurley should be thanking his lucky stars he got paid. Rams should of done what Chargers did and waited until at least 5th year before making a decision.

  2. I think someone may have misunderstood the central focus of the piece. Luck had nothing to do with it.

  3. The Rams and the League won BIG over this Gurley fiasco. Now, nobody will pay big money to RBs going forward. As to the Rams, now that they’ve moved the gimp they can move on with Darrell Henderson at RB on the cheap for the next 3-years and help their cap reset. Once they waive Brandin Cooks after the 2020 season, they’ll free up enough money to resign both Jalen Ramsey and Cooper Kupp so yeah, the Rams win. As to Gurly… nice $5m contract, chump change in the NFL and that’s what he’ll have to look forward to in 2021 and on if he’s even still playing. Atlanta is where worn out former Ram RBs go to die.

  4. The Rams don’t need Gurley, Goff has shown he can put the team on his shoulders and do it all by himself. How is theRams attendence going to be after several seasons of 8-9 or 7-10?

  5. I don’t understand how the Rams are so stupid with who they want at any cost. I like that they are aggressive but their decision making in the front office defies logic.

  6. Hooray for Todd Gurley, too bad for the other 52 guys on the roster and the rest of the team off the field. Think of this next time you hear the media push for guaranteed contracts with terms like this as being a win for players. No it is a win for a player not player”S”.

  7. What nonsense.

    Gurley gave the Rams 1,483 touches for 7,494 yards over those five years. EVERY TEAM would love to give an average $9m/year to any RB that can produce those numbers over a 5-year span.

    Gurley earned every single penny.

  8. The whole ‘don’t pay running backs’ and ‘don’t take an RB in the first’ thing was already established and then sealed up by Trent Richardson. It’s crazy how the mindset shifts. With Gurley and Gordon then Zeke the following year all having contract issues, won’t happen again for a while. Maybe the next wave will be the giant bruiser types.

  9. In the Ram’s push for a Championship a couple years ago they gave up too much draft Capitol and salary cap space for a ring, then crapped the bed vs the Patriots in the big show.

  10. Nice to know the Rams have money to burn. If they were willing to tear up that contract then what Gurley and his people did was brilliant. I wish him well.

  11. I think Les Snead has some answering to do with owner Stan Kroenke.
    The Rams took an accelerated $20 million dead cap hit for the 2020 season. That’s Huge.
    OUCH !! OUCH !! OUCH !!………..

  12. Not really into focusing on how these guys are making uber dollars. Why are contracts so fascinating to those covering or following sports? Who cares?

  13. I’m sure he’s happy to be going to a team that lost in the SB like men by blowing a 28-3 lead, instead of staying on a team that didn’t even deserve to be in the super bowl game they got drilled in.

  14. With the world the way it is right now, Im not too worried about the bread&circus of whether a football player made 20 million or 33 million.

  15. Gurley played a much bigger role on his team’s offense then Melvin Gordon did on his.

    Count me in as one of those who think the Rams shouldn’t have pulled the same “let’s stiff our best player” garbage they did with Eric Dickerson and Jerome Bettis.

  16. It is likely that other players will pay the price for the education that teams got from this. Do not expect many other second contract offers to be so player tilted when the player statistically shines mid-contract.

  17. His agent won too. What better advertisement than landing a deal with that payment structure for a RB with an injury history could there be?

  18. People care about contracts and salaries because the NFL has a hard salary cap. Knowing trends in the market and contract structure give fans a better understanding of why their favorite teams do what they do and what they can expect with the roster in the future.

    Xs and Os, coaches and joes may be responsible for the game-time action, but it’s the $$$s and “Paragraph 5s” that determine who the joes are and what Xs and Os the coaches can call.

  19. Funny, same people calling the Rams idiots for signing Gurley to the big contract are the same ones calling the Cowboys cheap for not signing Dak to a $40M per year contract.

  20. Rams getting burned on all sorts of deals. But no one to blame but themselves for that.

  21. sundanz56 says:
    Funny, same people calling the Rams idiots for signing Gurley to the big contract are the same ones calling the Cowboys cheap for not signing Dak to a $40M per year contract.
    Everyone knew that Gurley had some knee problems before that contract. While I dont think Dak is worth it, he has not been injury prone.

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