In one of the biggest surprises in the current NFL free agency period, the Los Angeles Rams released star running back Todd Gurley – who was the highest paid player in his position in the league.
The Rams are in big trouble with the salary cap as they went big when trying to win the Super Bowl and handing out big-money contracts to their top performers.
Gurley was certainly one of them, as the three-time Pro Bowler was the highest paid running back in the NFL.
The Rams lost the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots in 2019 and could not find their way back to the big game last season – and the cracks in their team and now starting to show.
No player has scored more than Gurley’s 70 touchdowns during his five years in the league, but in a bid to try and save some money the Rams have now had to release him.
Los Angeles tried to find a trading partner for Gurley, but the sheer weight of his contract, and the knowledge that they’d be forced to cut him anyway, always made that a difficult deal to find.
Doubts over Gurley’s troublesome knee problem also meant that a trade was unlikely – as his usage was well down last season from the previous year, when he tallied 1,251 yards a league-best 21 touchdowns.
Gurley had just 13 yards in their NFC Championship win at New Orleans and then just 35 yards in the Super Bowl in Atlanta with more doubts about his fitness.
Last season saw back-ups Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson get extended time as Gurley recorded a career-low 857 yards rushing, and head coach Sean McVay sees enough in them to believe he can cope without Gurley.
Six-time Pro Bowl linebacker Clay Matthews has also been cut by the Rams in a cost-cutting exercise – with the former Green Bay Packers star due a $2m bonus if he remained on the roster.