Based on Schefter’s tweet, it sounds like the final two years of his rookie contract will remain intact, and these years will be added on.
A running back gets paid big money
As Schefter noted, this contract “resets” the running back market. For years, we’ve seen running back contracts seemingly on the decline as deals for players at other positions have skyrocketed. While the days of backs who only run the ball are seemingly behind us, three-down backs like Gurley are an offensive asset and should be paid as such.
Assuming he plays on his franchise tag, the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell will earn $14.5 million for 2018, but that’s a one-year deal. The next-highest paid running back in 2018 in terms of base salary is the Bills’ LeSean McCoy, at $6.075 million. Houston’s Lamar Miller will earn $5 million in base salary this season.
Todd Gurley through his career
Todd Gurley through his career
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 24: Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams looks on before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 01: Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs carries the ball against the Buffalo Bulls at Sanford Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 22: Todd Gurley #3 and Jarvis Jones #29 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrate after the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Sanford Stadium on September 22, 2012 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
College Football: Georgia Todd Gurley (3) in action, rushing vs Tennessee at Sanford Stadium.
Athens, GA 9/29/2012
CREDIT: Al Tielemans (Photo by Al Tielemans /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)
(Set Number: X155553 TK1 R4 F177 )
ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium on September 29, 2012 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 01: Running back Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs carries the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first half of the SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome on December 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
CLEMSON, SC - AUGUST 31: Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after scoring a touchdown during the game against the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
College Football: Georgia Todd Gurley (3) during game vs South Carolina at Sanford Stadium.
Athens, GA 9/7/2013
CREDIT: Bill Frakes (Photo by Bill Frakes /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)
(Set Number: X156906 TK1 R9 F114 )
ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 23: Tailback Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs high fives fans near the hedges after the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 13: Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs looks on during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Columbia, South Carolina. South Carolina won 38-35. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
September 27, 2014: Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley (3) is hit by Tennessee Volunteers defensive back Malik Foreman (22) in the Georgia Bulldogs 35-32 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers at at Sanford Stadium in Athens, GA. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)
30 April 2015: Todd Gurley is selected by the St. Louis Rams for the 10th pick of the first round and poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during round 1 of the 2015 NFL Draft at Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 14: Todd Gurley #30 of the St. Louis Rams stands on the sidelines during their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on August 14, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 25: Todd Gurley #30 of the St. Louis Rams celebrates after making a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns in the third quarter at the Edward Jones Dome on October 25, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 04: Running back Todd Gurley #30 of the St. Louis Rams runs past free safety Rashad Johnson #26 of the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 04: Running back Todd Gurley #30 of the St. Louis Rams walks off the field following the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 24-22. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 1: Todd Gurley #30 of the St. Louis Rams takes to the field during introductions before a game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Edward Jones Dome on November 1, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Football: Closeup of St Louis Rams Todd Gurley (30) and Stedman Bailey (12) praying before game vs Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium.
Minneapolis, MN 11/8/2015
CREDIT: Brad Rempel (Photo by Brad Rempel /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)
(Set Number: X160120 TK1 )
22 November 2015: St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) warms up at M&T Bank Stadium, in Baltimore, MD. (Photograph by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 13: Todd Gurley #30 of the St. Louis Rams leaps against the Detroit Lions at the Edward Jones Dome on December 13, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - APRIL 18: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley goes head-to-head against New York Jets running back Matt Forte with Chris Puckett (C) in Call Of Duty: Black Ops3 to celebrate the launch of Eclipse DLC on April 18, 2016 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Activision)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Ram celebrates after the Rams defeated the Seahawks 9-3 in the home opening NFL game at Los Angeles Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 09: Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams prepares to take the field to play in the game against the Buffalo Bills at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 9, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 11: (L-R) Kenny Britt #18, Brian Quick #83, Bradley Marquez #15 and Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams walk down the tunnel for warm ups prior to the start of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 11, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. The Falcons defeated the Rams 42-14. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
In contrast, 26 receivers and 18 cornerbacks will make at least $5 million base this year.
Agents for Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott and Arizona’s David Johnson must be sending gift baskets to Gurley and his representatives, as now they have a benchmark for their clients.
Oh, and Bell noticed too, tweeting not long after news of Gurley’s deal, “lol and (people) thought I was trippin’?” in regards to what Bell wants to be paid.
Gurley bounced back after 2016
Perhaps no player was more emblematic of the issues with Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff than Gurley. As a rookie in 2015, the Baltimore native, who was the 10th overall pick earlier that year, was the Associated Press offensive rookie of the year, with 1,294 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns.
But the next year, with then-rookie Jared Goff at quarterback and the Rams struggling mightily, Gurley’s production dipped. By December, he was calling Los Angeles’ system “a middle school offense” out of frustration.
Last year, however, with new head coach Sean McVay, who immediately turned the offense around, Gurley led the NFL in rushing touchdowns (13), yards from scrimmage (2,093) and combined receiving and rushing touchdowns (19).
He was voted the AP offensive player of the year.
Goff, among others, was happy to see Gurley taken care of, tweeting, “No one deserves it more!”
Is Aaron Donald next?
While Gurley has been great, it’s a bit of a surprise to see him get a contract now: for one thing, the team had time to get it done, and for another, the Rams still haven’t signed defensive tackle Aaron Donald. (The Rams also signed receiver Brandin Cooks to a five-year, $80 million contract last week.)
Donald is a cornerstone talent and one of the three-to-five best players in the NFL; to some, including Gurley, he is the best player in the league right now. But his rookie contract, which he has long since outplayed, expires at the end of this season at he’s still waiting.
McVay and general manager Les Snead met with media on Tuesday, and Snead indicated that the team is working toward a deal with Donald.
“Each situation is different; different players, different agents. The timeline – you work on everything simultaneously, but you really don’t know when you’re going to get something done or not, because it’s case-by-case,” Snead said.
Asked further about Donald’s status, Snead said, “We’re simultaneously working to make Aaron a Ram for a long time. That’s the goal. Aaron’s a big part of who we are, where we want to go… We’re going to continue working to get something done with Aaron. I don’t want to get into the details, but I do know we have time to get something done.”
NFL players who have switched teams this offseason
NFL players who have switched teams this offseason