Malcolm Brown signs offer sheet with Lions, putting Rams on the clock for plans at running back

Rams running back Malcolm Brown leaps over New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Williams to score a touchdown in the third quarter at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans last season.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Rams are on the clock for determining their plans at running back.

Malcolm Brown, a restricted free agent who served as Todd Gurley’s primary backup the last two seasons, signed an offer sheet with the Detroit Lions on Tuesday. Terms were not disclosed. Under NFL rules, the Rams have five days to match the offer or lose Brown.

Brown, 25, played in college at Texas and signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2015, the same year they selected Gurley with the 10th overall pick. Brown, also a special teams standout, received an original-round tender of just over $2 million from the Rams last week. Unlike a first- or second-round tender, there is no compensation for teams that lose players with original-round tenders.

The 5-foot-11, 222-pound Brown rushed for 212 yards in 12 games last season before suffering a season-ending clavicle injury on Dec. 2 against the Lions at Detroit. The Rams signed running back C.J. Anderson after a loss the next week against the Philadelphia Eagles, a game in which Gurley required medical attention for his left knee.


Anderson rushed for more than 100 yards in three consecutive games. He played the majority of snaps in the NFC championship game victory over the New Orleans Saints, and also had a significant role in the Rams’ Super Bowl defeat by the New England Patriots.

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Anderson is an unrestricted free agent. He has said that he would like to return to the Rams but would test the market.

“He did prove that when Todd was out, that wait a minute, he can keep the offense in rhythm, maybe not explosive as Todd in terms of let’s call it the long gains and things like that,” Rams general manager Les Snead said last week. “We also felt like Malcolm Brown potentially could have done the same thing that CJ did, it’s just he went out … and we never got to see that.”

Third-year pro Justin Davis and second-year pro John Kelly are other running backs on the roster.

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein