The Los Angeles Rams have parted ways with veterans Clay Matthews and Todd Gurley as of Thursday.
Based on reports, the moves were to assist with the Rams’ salary cap situation as they look to improve upon last season and have a more successful future.
Rams release Gurley, Matthews
On Thursday afternoon, the Los Angeles Rams announced that they were releasing running back Todd Gurley.
Gurley was the team’s No. 10 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. During his time with the team, he earned three Pro Bowl selections, was a two-time All-Pro and won the 2017 AP Offensive Player of the Year.
However, the past two seasons saw Gurley’s performance take a hit and steadily decline into this most recent season.
While he had a starring role in 2018, he became limited in the NFL postseason due to knee issues.
Gurley was a non-factor for his team once they got into the Super Bowl, which they lost to the New England Patriots.
In 2019, he rushed for 857 yards, the fewest of any season in his career thus far.
Overall, Gurley has 1,265 carries for 5,404 yards and 58 touchdowns. In terms of receiving, Gurley has also tallied 2,090 yards and another 12 TDs that way.
Todd Gurley, age 26, now has the option to sign with any other team that may have an interest in his services.
In addition to the news of Gurley’s release, the Rams also announced they released defensive veteran Clay Matthews.
Matthews, a six-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion with the Packers, only spent the 2019 season with the Rams. He had 37 tackles and eight sacks for the team this past season.
Rams made moves to free up cap space
Ahead of the 2018 season, Gurley became the NFL’s highest-paid running back with a four-year, $60M contract extension that had $45 million worth of guarantees.
If the Rams hadn’t released Gurley today, they’d owe him $10.5 million for his guarantees.
Per ESPN’s report, today’s release will create what’s known as a dead-salary hit for Los Angeles.
If Gurley was released with a “pre-June 1 designation” then the team has to absorb a $20.15M dead-money hit, but they’d save $2.9M in cap space.
If Gurley has a post-June 1 designation, the move will bring a dead money cost of $11.75M with a savings of $5.5M in cap space.
The report goes on to say that the Rams can spread out the dead money over the 2020 and 2021 NFL seasons.
It’s also mentioned that the Rams did this to themselves over the past 20 months.
They not only gave a huge deal to Gurley but other star members of the team, including defensive tackle Aaron Donald, wide receiver Brandin Cooks, and quarterback Jared Goff.
It’s already been a busy time in terms of NFL transactions with news that Tom Brady will join Tampa Bay and Philip Rivers signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
Other moves included the Nick Foles trade to the Bears and cornerback Desmond Trufant joining the Detroit Lions.