Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay says the decision to move on from running back Todd Gurley last month was not something he would have “anticipated,” according to a report.
McVay spoke to reporters Monday for the first time since cutting Gurley, who was just two years into a 4-year, $60 million contract.
“I think as you continue to accumulate experience, especially in this role, you never take anything for granted and the amount of perspective that you have now … but to say that was something that I think you could have ever anticipated, I think the answer is no,” he said, according to an ESPN report.
Gurley was cut on March 19. Just one day later he signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons.
McVay offered little insight into the decision to move on from Gurley, although he did hint that it had to do with the bigger picture.
“A lot of the decisions we make aren’t exclusively about a player, but you’re talking about how to fit a big puzzle together with your team,” McVay said, according to ESPN.
“These are conversations that require a lot of different directions and kind of projections based on where we’re at, where we want to be… but there certainly were a lot of things that went into the discussion and ultimately the decision to make that move.”
It was initially speculated that the Rams’ motivation was financial following a poor performance last season.
Gurley’s contract included $45 million in guarantees. With a post-June 1 designation, the Rams will spread the dead-money cap charges of $11.74 million over two seasons, saving them $5.5 million in cap space on June 2, ESPN reported.
But Rams General Manager Les Snead echoed McVay’s remarks.
“In this case, I don’t think it’s a salary cap issue, but in the puzzle, like I said, in putting together your short-term and long-term vision of trying to consistently contend what you pay players comes into play [sic], obviously producing comes into play,” he said, according to ESPN.
Gurley was drafted by the Rams in 2015. He was named Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2017 and led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2017 and 2018. He suffered a knee injury the following year that resulted in a troubled season.