A healthy Todd Gurley is talented enough to win a Super Bowl for the Rams. An injured Gurley could derail the team’s dynasty before it begins.
When the Rams handed Todd Gurley a four-year, $57.5 million contract they believed he’d be the engine of their offense for years to come. Now it appears that the damage to the running back’s knee may derail any hopes the Rams have at building a sustainable dynasty.
According to The Athletic’s Jay Glazer, no one associated with the Rams is pushing the panic button about Gurley’s knee at the moment, but there is “concern” inside the organization. The fact that the former Georgia star hasn’t participated in the team’s offseason workouts as of yet isn’t doing anything to calm fears in Los Angeles.
The Rams do deserve credit for doing everything they can to manage Gurley’s situation successfully. The organization has made the right decision to try to reduce his workload this season. The hope is that by reducing his carries during the regular season they can keep him fresh for a deep playoff run. Time will tell whether that strategy pays dividends.
To that end, the Rams elected to trade up to nab Memphis running back Darrell Henderson in the draft. He should be in line to get a heavy dose of carries during the regular season. It’s possible that he and Gurley will form a legitimate time share in the Rams’ backfield this season. That might cost Los Angeles an important game or two in the regular season, but it’s a sacrifice well worth making to keep Gurley healthy in the playoffs.
If reducing Gurley’s workload doesn’t successfully return the running back to his former glory, it’s going to make it much more difficult for the Rams to establish themselves as a consistent Super Bowl contender. Currently they are benefiting from having a quarterback on a rookie-scale contract. Paying Jared Goff below-market money for a quarterback allows the franchise to overpay players at other positions.
If Gurley becomes a bad contract it’s going to largely negate the salary cap benefits the Rams are reaping from Goff’s deal. Even worse is the fact that Goff’s rookie deal is set to expire at the end of the 2019 campaign. Whether Los Angeles choose to franchise him or sign him to a multi-year extension he’s going to get much more expensive.
The Rams haven’t done anything wrong with Gurley, but his knee injury could still undo all of their clever team building in recent years. Not even Sean McVay can overcome a serious injury to one of his most talented players.