On the heels of inking receiver Brandin Cooks to an extension, the Los Angeles Rams extend their generosity to their backfield. Todd Gurley’s 4-year contract extension with the Rams is worth up to $60 million with $45 million in virtual guarantees, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Additional particulars of the deal include a $21 million signing bonus spread over the course of the next four seasons and an average salary of over $14 million. To put Gurley’s deal in perspective, the next highest paying rusher on a long-term deal, Devonta Freeman, is making just over $8 million per year. Even more staggering is Gurley’s guaranteed number ($45 million) is over twice that of Freeman’s ($22.047 million), per Spotrac.com.
Elephant in the room
No need to look further than the Rams’ own roster for a possible fallout from Gurley’s deal. With new deals for Cooks, Gurley, and Joyner and costly early offseason additions of Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh, the Rams will be pressed up against the cap to make something happen for Aaron Donald.
Donald’s $6,892,000 salary in 2018 isn’t near market value for what the reigning defensive MVP will demand in 2019. As good as Gurley was last season, Aaron Donald’s down to down and year to year performance has been staggering. Per Pro Football Focus’ grading, Donald has been a near-perfect player over the last three seasons, grading no lower than 98.5 on their 100 point scale in that span.
Outside of the Rams, current Pittsburgh Steelers runningback, Le’Veon Bell, will hold a magnifying glass on Gurley’s deal -- hoping for a long term contract of his own in 2019 after talks with Pittsburgh fell through before training camp. Gurley and Bell offer their teams similar skillsets, and there’s no doubt Bell will be rooting for Gurley to have a career year to further legitimize big-time spending on the runningback position next offseason.