The rumors have been circulating for months now, the writing appeared to be on the wall-in all caps. Todd Gurley’s tenure as a Los Angeles Ram was on borrowed time.
On Thursday (3/19) the team confirmed what we all had suspected; however, the move was not without surprise.
The Rams released Todd Gurley outright. A move not many could have predicted. The trade winds had been swirling and the assumption was this would be the way ahead. Certainly, the games best running back just two seasons ago wouldn’t be let go for nothing right? A thought which provided some comfort for a move that was certainly going to leave a poor taste in fans’ mouths.
Well, here we are, empty-handed.
The team was unable to find a suitable trade partner or at least a deal they felt got them anything of value in return.
The timing of the move makes financial sense for the team as Gurley’s extension he signed in July 2018 was set to kick in tomorrow at 4PM. Releasing him now saves the team $10.5 million in guaranteed money.
His deal also included offsetting language which means if he signs with another team this offseason the Rams will recoup $2.5 million.
The Rams are certainly not off the financial hook completely. With his release, the team is left with $20.15 million in dead money. The silver lining is that this money can be spaced out over the next two years. With his release today the team saves $5.5 million in cap space for this season. As of now, the team has paid Gurley $34.5 million based on the extension he signed back in July 2018.
In a related cap space move, the team also released LB Clay Matthews. This move saves $5 million, with an additional $2 million in relief if Matthews is signed by another team for $2 million or more.
Another name being thrown around in trade talks is WR Brandin Cooks. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the team has not been actively shopping him, but they are taking calls on him from other teams. At this point, it would be shocking to him with the team by the start of the season.
The Todd Gurley era in LA is over and while it might not have been a long period of time he left an undeniable mark on the team and the league.
In his 5 seasons, Gurley was 2nd in rushing (5,405), 1st in rushing TD’s (58), 2nd in yards from scrimmage (7,494), and 1st in total TDs.
Based on the reactions from his former Rams teammates on Twitter they were not happy about the move, expressing both anger and bewilderment. Todd seemed to be making the move in stride. He tweeted “Damn I got fired on my day off” accompanied by a crying laughing emoji. He doesn’t appear to be holding any grudges with the team either. He re-tweeted a tweet from Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, saying “All business nothing personal”.
After the week we have had as fans it is pretty hard not to take all these roster moves, especially this one, personal. For my money, Todd Gurley was the face of the franchise. Take any shot of the Coliseum during a game and the majority of fans in attendance were wearing Gurley’s jersey.
I understand football is a salary capped sport, but something here just doesn’t sit well with me. The team is set to open a brand new 4.9 billion dollar stadium, in the United States 2nd biggest sports market of Los Angeles, with over 5 million homes, and team owner Stan Kroenke is the NFL’s 2nd richest owner, with a net worth of a cool $9.7 billion dollars.
Where is all of this sudden penny pinching coming from? And why now?
A team with a Super Bowl-caliber roster just two years ago, ready to open a new stadium, and establish themselves as a perennial NFL contender is suddenly in full-blown rebuild mode, leaving fans with questions of when and how they should bet on this team.
This has been a tough week, and it isn’t even over.
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