Todd Gurley just got paid. The Rams running back is close to finalizing a four-year, $60 million contract extension that includes $45 million guaranteed, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter. The 2015 first-round pick had two years left on his rookie deal after the team in April. Now Gurley, 23, is tied to the Rams through the 2022 season.
The news comes on the same day Rams' players are reporting for training camp and exactly a week after wide receiver Brandin Cooks, acquired this offseason from the Patriots, signed a Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, and one of the league's best defensive linemen in Ndamukong Suh.. It's also the latest move in an incredibly busy offseason for the Rams that has included adding two of the league's best cornerbacks in
Conspicuously, Los Angeles' best player, defensive lineman Aaron Donald, enters the final year of his rookie deal even though he's been looking for a new contract for more than a year now.
It was long expected that Le'Veon Bell would be the first running back to sign a long-term deal but he remains at an impasse with the Steelers. Bell reportedly turned down a $60 million contract last offseason, and nixed athis summer, though the guaranteed money was thought to be around $33 million, which is substantially less than what Gurley is getting from the Rams.
Former agent Joel Corry who writes about contracts for CBSSports.com, says that Gurley's deal has the biggest guaranteed money for any deal for a running back in NFL history and $32.5 million of the guarantees have no offsets.
If nothing else, Gurley's deal may be a sign that Bell, who is three years older, will be hard-pressed to get the money he's looking for; as it stands, Bell will have to play on the $14.5 million franchise tender in 2018 and will almost certainly hit free agency next offseason when he'll be 27.
The Rams, meanwhile, continue to follow the Seahawks' blueprint from early in Russell Wilson's career: Take advantage of the fact that the franchise quarterback is still on his rookie deal and use all the extra cap space to add players around him that put the team in win-now mode. Of course, this requires that you've correctly identified your franchise quarterback -- Seattle, L.A. and another team, Philly, can all tick that box -- but it also means you have a small window to win with the roster. In 2-3 years, the team is going to have to pay that young quarterback more than $25 million annually, which means less money for key players at other positions.
Which brings us back to the Rams, who appear perfectly positioned for a Super Bowl run right now. There's a cautionary tale in Seattle, however, where Wilson got that big second contract but the team is now in rebuilding mode. Last season, they missed the playoffs for the first time in five years and there's a good argument to be made that the Seahawks are the worst team in the NFC West. But they also had a great run; they won a Lombardi Trophy (and should've had another if they'd just given the ball to Marshawn Lynch) and went 56-23-1 from 2012-2016.
The Rams, who were already among the NFC favorites to make it to the Super Bowl, now have one of the league's best running backs under contract for six more seasons.