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Former Rams running back Todd Gurley doesn’t mince his words when it comes to his feelings towards HC Sean McVay. At a recent appearance on The 25 10 ShowGurley hinted that he was frustrated with his reduced role in his final years with the Rams. When asked if he ever felt insulted by McVay’s play-calling, Gurley answered bluntly: “It wasn’t like I was supposed to fuck him. I still tried to be a team player, but at the end of the day I thought, ‘Are you paying me to sit down? So be it!'”

This frustration is not unique to Gurley. Free Agent Melvin Gordonwho was drafted just five spots after Gurley in 2015, recently pointed the finger at HC McVay and the Rams team for devaluing the running backs across the league.“I think after Todd got paid and then Sean McVay came out and said he’d never pay a running back again; I’m just going to put them in and rotate them out. It was like everyone followed his example.” Gordon said on The Jim Rome Show. “I think that’s when everything started to go downhill.”

Even Gurley’s story is a cautionary tale. A superstar early in his career (Offensive Player of the Year, runner-up in MVP voting), he was rewarded by the Rams with a then-record $57.5 million contract. However, his injuries (arthritis of the knee) affected his performance on the field. Gurley’s yards per touch dropped from 5.8 to 4.2 in one year.

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The bigger problem, however, is other talented running backs struggling to get big contracts. According to USA Today, the value of a running back’s franchise tag rose from $8.65 million in 2021 to an estimated $11.3 million. Despite the rising market value of a running back, why was Todd Gurley released?

Rams cut ties with Todd Gurley before $10.5 million signing bonus is due

The Rams released their star RB Todd Gurley in 2020. This happened after a drop in performance in the 2019 season, a few days before a roster bonus of $10.5 million. Just two years earlier, the now 29-year-old scored 19 touchdowns, making him a candidate for the MVP title.

After Gurley’s performance declined, the franchise reduced his workload during the 2019 season. He was given a career-low 223 carries on just 14.9 carries per game and only 857 rushing yards, eclipsing 20 rushing attempts in three games. The former Georgia star had five games in his final four seasons. Team Rams opted for a shared-load approach in the playoffs and limited Gurley to ten carries in Super Bowl LIII.

Had Gurley been successful in a run-friendly offense (15-18 TDs per game), he could still be a valuable contributor today. His recent comments on “reduced role” raise questions about the “Workhorse“ Running back future in the league.