Another day, another Los Angeles Rams player not named Aaron Donald receiving big money.
According to multiple reports, the Rams have reached an agreement with running back Todd Gurley on a four-year, $60 million contract extension that will keep him locked up through the 2023 season. Gurley, who turns 24 next week, led the NFL with 19 TDs in a resurgent season under first-year head coach Sean McVay in 2017.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the deal contains a whopping $45 million guaranteed — far surpassing any veteran back's contract extension in league history. The most guaranteed money at the position had come to three highly drafted backs on their rookie deals the past few years: Saquon Barkley ($31.2 million), Leonard Fournette ($27.2 million) and Ezekiel Elliott ($24.5 million).
The most guaranteed money a current veteran back had received in a contract extension at the time of signing was the Buffalo Bills' LeSean McCoy at $18.25 million.
Gurley's deal surely will open the eyes of the Pittsburgh Steelers and RB Le'Veon Bell, who currently are at odds over his deal. It also will attract the attention of Donald, who reportedly had told friends he felt that he and the Rams could come to an agreement on his own long-term extension prior to training camp. Donald, though, remains unsigned now, and Rams vets are scheduled to report prior to Thursday's full-team practice.
“We’re simultaneously working to make Aaron a Ram a long time — that’s the goal," Rams GM Les Snead said Tuesday. "I know we’ll get questions about him, but Aaron’s a big part of who we are, where we want to go. But I think the details and all of that, I think we’re going to continue the course of keeping them in-house. We’re going to continue working to get something done with Aaron.”
Gurley's play last season clearly has the Rams feeling that he is a vital cog in their offense for years to come. Named 2017 Offensive Player of the Year, Gurley totaled 2,093 yards from scrimmage, 13 rushing TDs and six receiving scores in 15 games. He bounced back after a poor season for the struggling Rams in 2016, but McVay's arrival led to an awakening for the entire team's offense as they led the NFL in scoring last season.
The Rams previously had exercised Gurley's fifth-year team option for 2019 in April, and it was clear they intended to keep him from going anywhere anytime soon. But this monster extension not only shows how much the Rams value Gurley, but it also should have a league-wide ripple effect — on NFL running backs and other Rams players seeking money down the road.
"Each situation is different," Snead said. "Different players different agents, so I think the timeline — you work on everything simultaneously — but you really don’t know when you’re going to get something done or not."