Sean McVay never envisioned Rams cutting Todd Gurley, offers explanation to decision

Todd Gurley’s five-year stint with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams came to a close this offseason after the franchise elected to cut the former first round running back back on March 19. Gurley had been a staple in the Rams offense essentially from the moment he put on their uniform in 2015 and while the release wasn’t totally surprising, head coach Sean McVay highlighted that it was a move he never imagined going down. 

“I don’t think so,” McVay told reporters Monday, via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN. “I think as you continue to accumulate experience, especially in this role, you never take anything for granted and the amount of perspective that you have now … but to say that was something that I think you could have ever anticipated, I think the answer is no.”

Part of the reason Los Angeles elected to make this move was for financial reasons. Cutting Gurley saved the club from paying him $10.5 million guaranteed. The 25-year-old running back was in the midst of his record four-year $60 million contract with the Rams that included $45 million guaranteed. He had over $20 million in dead cap money still left on his contract that will be spread over the next two seasons on the Rams salary cap at $11.75 million apiece. Cutting him will, however, clear up $5.5 million in space later this offseason. 

“A lot of the decisions we make aren’t exclusively about a player, but you’re talking about how to fit a big puzzle together with your team,” McVay said. “These are conversations that require a lot of different directions and kind of projections based on where we’re at, where we want to be … but there certainly were a lot of things that went into the discussion and ultimately the decision to make that move.”

Over the course of his tenure with Los Angeles, Gurley led the league in rushing touchdowns twice (2017, 2018) and led the league in total yards from scrimmage in 2017 with 2,093. The three-time Pro Bowl back did suffer a knee injury late during the 2018 season and hasn’t really returned to form since, which appeared to be another factor in the team cutting him loose.

“The yards he gained, the touchdowns he scored for us, the championships — where it’s two division titles, the conference championship, the Super Bowl appearance, you know that would be tough to regret,” said general manager Les Snead. “What I can say is, obviously, I think we all wish the partnership could have lasted longer.”

Following his release from the Rams, Gurley inked a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons. 

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