An acknowledged shoe aficionado, Rams running back Todd Gurley does not have to worry about his designer footwear budget for a while, not after signing a four-year extension that includes $45 million in guarantees and could be worth $60 million.
“Haven’t done the math,” he said during a Wednesday news conference at UC Irvine, “but I’m pretty sure I can buy a whole lot of shoes now.”
The Rams invested heavily in Gurley, the reigning NFL offensive player of the year. His deal makes him the NFL’s highest-paid running back.
Gurley, 23, is accustomed to establishing benchmarks.
In 2015, the Rams selected him with the 10th pick in the draft, ending a two-year NFL drought when no running backs were selected in the first round.
Gurley’s extension is expected to influence upcoming deals for players such as Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell and Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson. Those players were among the dozens that congratulated Gurley on Tuesday after the Rams announced they had agreed to terms with the fourth-year pro.
“It’s exciting to be in the position I’m in,” Gurley said, adding, “I’m always supporting other running backs.”
Gurley, the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year in 2015, bounced back from a disappointing second season and scored a league-leading 19 touchdowns in 2017. His performance under first-year coach Sean McVay helped the Rams win the NFC West and advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Gurley said he would not feel extra pressure after receiving the lucrative extension. He plans to remain consistent and help the Rams continue to produce.
“With coach McVay as my coach and all these great weapons around me, I’m fully confident we’ll be able to do that for years to come,” he said.
Gurley has a salary-cap number of $4.4 million this season. The Rams had exercised their fifth-year option for 2019 at about $9.6 million.
Rams general manager Les Snead said Tuesday that the Rams approached Gurley’s representatives about an extension during the spring. Rather than waiting until after the season, Gurley agreed to a deal that will keep him with the team through the 2023 season.
“I’m just happy we were all able to be on the same page and just try to get it done now,” Gurley said. “I was not worrying about it too much. The Rams, they just did a phenomenal job on their part of being able to make this all come true for me, so I’m happy to get it done early, out of the way.”
Gurley signed his extension about a week after the Rams signed receiver Brandin Cooks to a five-year, $80-million extension. Quarterback Jared Goff is expected to receive an extension in the next few years, keeping a core of productive offensive players in place.
“In terms of the calculus, it does help when you lock up some of your core players and from there you have anchor points of what you do as we continue to build the Rams,” Snead said Tuesday.
Ostensibly, defensive tackle Aaron Donald also is part of the equation. Donald did not report to training camp because he remains at odds with the Rams regarding an extension.
“We miss the guy, miss him being here and hope to have him back soon,” Gurley said. “And hopefully, stuff gets situated.”