The Los Angeles Rams’ roster churn hit high gear Thursday afternoon.
Running back Todd Gurley, who led the NFL in touchdowns scored in 2017 (19) and 2018 (21) was released on a day when the team would have had to pay him a $10.5 million bonus had he remained on the roster.
Gurley’s health has been a mystery since the 2018 playoffs, when he used sparingly in the NFC championship game and failed to make a major impact in Super Bowl LIII. Rumors about knee problems, which Gurley had dealt with since college, swirled in 2019, when he still managed to play 15 games. However Gurley was never the explosive player last season that had been earlier in his career, rushing for a career-low 857 yards, producing a career-worst 1,064 yards from scrimmage and averaging a scant 4.2 yards per touch.
Gurley signed a four-year, $57.5 million extension in 2018 and was due to have a cap hit of $17.25 million this year, according to overthecap.com.
He’s now immediately thrust into a free agent pool that appears to be a buyer’s market. Melvin Gordon, Devonta Freeman, Carlos Hyde and others are awaiting employment at a position where teams often opt to go young.
Also Thursday, the Rams opted to part with linebacker Clay Matthews III after his only professionals season in L.A. Playing in 13 games, Matthews managed eight sacks in 2019, his most since being a Pro Bowler in 2014 with the Green Bay Packers. The Rams, who recently signed linebacker Leonard Floyd but lost Dante Fowler Jr. to Atlanta, will no longer have to pay Matthews’ $2 million bonus.
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