The certainty is Gurley’s time with the Rams is done.
Rams coach Sean McVay wouldn’t go into detail Monday about why the team decided to move on from Gurley, saying only that it was more than one thing.
“The first thing I would say is it’s really just unbelievable what he’s done over the five years that he was a Ram,” McVay said on the Rich Eisen Show. “I couldn’t be more appreciative of our time together, and I do think that eventually we will be able to look back and really be able to cherish a lot of the great memories that we’ve shared. He has been so important in the success we’ve had as a team, and I owe a lot of that to him and I’m forever grateful for having worked with him.
“Sometimes tough decisions have to be made. I think he will do a very nice job with the Falcons. For us, the only way I can put it is these decisions are never easy, but more than anything, I think it’s important to just represent the type of player, the person and the appreciation for the time that we did have together. That’s what I would want to emphasize just because of what he’s meant to me and what he’s meant to us in the three years we’ve spent together.”
Eisen pressed McVay about whether Gurley’s knee injury was the reason the Rams decided to part ways. Gurley was the 2017 offensive player of the year. He developed a knee problem late in the 2018 season.
In Gurley’s final 20 games in a Rams uniform, including the postseason, he had one 100-yard game. In those 20 games, he had 276 carries for 1,093 yards and 16 touchdowns, with 48 catches for 318 yards and two touchdowns.
McVay, though, said it is “inaccurate” to say the Rams released Gurley solely because of his knee. (It seems accurate to say it was a combination of Gurley’s knee and his contract.)
The Rams would have had to guarantee Gurley another $10.5 million if he had remained on the roster past 4 p.m. on March 19. So the Rams cut their losses.
“Yeah, I would just say this — you said it right — when you look at the amount of the touchdowns he’s been able to score, you talk about the feel he has in the red zone, it is electric. It is dynamic,” McVay said. “He’s a superstar. He’s earned that status just based on the charisma, the production on the field. I think one of the things I’ll always appreciate that says as much about him as anything is you talk about how guys handle some tough situations are different than what you would anticipate. I think one of the coolest reflections of Todd is I think about that NFC Championship Game and the way he handled himself after that, where he’s been a first-team All-Pro back. Things didn’t go that way necessarily for him personally in that game, but when you hear how he speaks about his teammates and those kinds of things, that’s what’s been right about the Rams the last couple of years are guys that have been instrumental in the culture.
“There’s a lot of things that go into tough decisions. What I would say is I just wish him the best in Atlanta. I think they got a good football player. But we’re also excited about seeing is there an opportunity to maybe add somebody in the draft. We ended up taking Darrell Henderson in the third round last year that we think has a lot of upside, and when Malcolm Brown has gotten his opportunities, he’s delivered in a big way in the last few years.”
The Rams do not have a first-round choice, having traded it to the Jaguars for Jalen Ramsey. Their first of six choices is in the second round, No. 52 overall.