The Los Angeles Rams made the tough decision last month to part ways with star running back Todd Gurley after five seasons. There had been much chatter around the Rams venturing that route with Gurley, which came about quite quickly before his new contract began to kick in. There hadn’t been much dialogue from the Rams aside from a few quotes in a press release. However, that has changed as head coach Sean McVay has brought more clarity as to why the team parted ways with Gurley.
Rams release Todd Gurley
The writing had been on the wall that Gurley’s time with the Rams was nearing a close.
The 25-year-old had wrapped up a tough 2019 season that saw him struggle to put up strong production. Gurley failed to crack 900 rushing yards and didn’t post a single game with at least 100 rushing yards as his workload was limited due to precautions over the health of his knee.
His lingering health issues combined with an upcoming additional $10.5 million salary-cap hit pushed the Rams to move on from the Pro Bowler. That brought a close to his highly productive stint with the franchise that saw him become one of the top running backs in the NFL.
Over the last five seasons, he’s second in the league with 5,405 rushing yards, first with 58 touchdowns, second with 7,494 total scrimmage yards, and first with 70 total touchdowns.
Sean McVay on why the Rams moved on from Todd Gurley
It has been a couple of weeks since the Rams made the tough choice to part ways with their former All-Pro running back.
During an interview on Rich Eisen Show on Monday morning, head coach Sean McVay voiced much appreciation for what Gurley brought to the table for the franchise while stating that “a lot of things” went into the decision to move on. (H/T Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk)
“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.”
As expected, McVay decided against singling out the reasoning for the move, but it’s clear that the team didn’t feel he could produce up to the level that his contract would suggest. Gurley was coming off a difficult season where he had notable struggles producing and maintaining a workhorse type of role in the offense.
It was a situation that didn’t work out financially for the Rams moving forward by committing a significant chunk of their team salary to a player that may have his best production behind him. All that led to this being a strictly business move that the team felt it was best to move on.
Todd Gurley’s opportunity to prove himself with Falcons
The Rams may have moved on from Gurley, but his next landing spot with the Atlanta Falcons presents a unique opportunity for him.
Gurley will likely step into the starting role with Devonta Freeman out of the picture that could see him garner a significant workload in the offense. His one-year deal with the Falcons should provide extra motivation to prove that he is still one of the league’s top running backs.
There will remain concerns over the health of his knee, but it’s a chance to showcase that he has moved past those previous issues. In other words, it’s on Gurley’s shoulders to prove his doubters wrong.