There have been lots of free agency moves the past few days, but this one was surprising:
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Faced with a challenging salary cap situation, the Los Angeles Rams have released running back Todd Gurley and linebacker Clay Matthews, the team announced Thursday.
The Rams made Gurley, the former NFL Offensive Player of the Year, the highest-paid running back in NFL history before the 2018 season -- awarding him a four-year, $60 million extension, that included $45 million in guarantees. At the time of the extension, Gurley had two seasons remaining on his rookie contract.
The transaction is accompanied by a heavy cost.
The Rams will absorb a $20.15 million dead-money hit if he was released with a pre-June 1 designation. They will save $2.9 in salary cap space.
With a post-June 1 designation, Gurley's dead money cost will amount to $11.75 million and the team will save $5.5 million in salary cap space.
The Rams can spread the dead-money hit over the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
The Rams' salary cap situation was created, in part, by their decisions over the last 20 months to extend mega-deals to Gurley, quarterback Jared Goff, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and receiver Brandin Cooks, who also has been among players discussed in trade talks.