If you've been paying attention to NBA free agency this offseason, you may have noticed that some of the contracts handed out by teams contain some astronomical dollar amounts. Some of the best available free agents signed for a ton of money: Chris Paul got a four-year deal worth nearly $160 million from the Houston Rockets; LeBron James got four years and $154 million from the Lakers; Nikola Jokic received $148 million over five years from the Nuggets; and Paul George was handed $137 million over for years by the Thunder.
These massive dollar figures are being thrown around because maximum contracts in the NBA are tied to a percentage of the salary cap, which keeps going up, but that's not stopping NFL players from getting jealous of the sums of money being awarded to their NBA counterparts.
"Us NFL players, we're just mad about NBA contracts right now, that's all," Gurley said, per the Los Angeles Times. "I just want like $80 million. Those guys are getting like $150 [million]. It's crazy. It's insane."
Gurley is one of the NFL's best running backs, but he still has one more year left on his rookie contract, plus a fifth-year option that the Rams will surely pick up. In total, his rookie deal will pay $23,453,183 over the course of his age-20 through age-24 seasons. He should still have a few years' worth of top-level play left in him once that contract expires, but the likelihood of Gurley even approaching $80 million seems fairly low, given how the NFL values running backs these days.
The largest running back contract in the NFL right now is the five-year, $41.25 million deal signed by the Falcons' Devonta Freeman last offseason. That deal carries an average annual value of $8.25 million, which is the highest figure for any running back other than Le'Veon Bell, who is operating on the franchise tag. Even if we assume that Gurley surpasses Freeman's contract in average annual value (a reasonable assumption), he'd probably need something like an eight- or nine-year contract in order to approach $80 million over the life of the deal. That would mean keeping him under contract through his early-to-mid-30s, which is just not happening.
There are CBA and salary-cap reasons behind the fact that the best NBA players make more than their NFL brethren, but that doesn't mean NFL players have to be thrilled about it. It probably doesn't help matters that Gurley plays a position which is becoming increasingly devalued in the modern NFL. If he were a quarterback, he'd have a chance of topping the money made by even the best NBA players.