As expected, it certainly didn’t take long for the new contract extension numbers of Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley to surface.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk was the first to have Gurley’s new contract numbers and below is the meat of the deal year-by-year complete with base salaries, signing bonus, roster bonuses and escalator details. Major props to him.
1. Signing bonus: $21 million.
2. 2018 base salary: $950,000, fully guaranteed.
3. 2019 base salary: $5 million, guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2019 league year.
4. 2020 roster bonus due on third day of 2020 league year: $7.55 million, guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2019 league year.
5. 2020 salary: $5.5 million, guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2020 league year.
6. 2021 roster bonus due on the third day of 2021 league year or when the first game, whichever is earlier: $5 million, guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2020 league year.
7. 2021 salary: $4 million.
8. 2022 roster bonus, due on the third day of the 2022 league year: $1 million.
9. 2022 training camp reporting bonus: $4 million.
10. 2022 salary: $5 million.
11. 2023 roster bonus, due on the third day of the 2023 league year: $1 million.
12. 2023 training camp reporting bonus: $4 million.
13. 2023 salary: $5.449 million.
14. 2023 escalator: Up to $2.5 million based on individual and team performance.
Assuming those numbers are correct, lets establish a few facts.
First, Gurley will earn $21.95 million in 2018 and that amount is reported as being fully guaranteed by Florio. Additionally, later in his post, Florio is counting the $5 million base salary Gurley is scheduled to earn in 2019 as being fully guaranteed as well even though he itemized it above at being guaranteed for injury only at signing and becoming fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2019 league year in March.
I asked Joel Corry of CBS Sports about the full guarantees of Gurley’s extension and he confirmed to me that technically only $21.95 million of the deal is FULLY guaranteed for those of you scoring at home. You can read along with Florio’s post as for the rolling guarantees related to Gurley’s roster bonus dates in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Make sure you notice when what becomes fully guaranteed by when. It’s a bit confusing, so make sure you read it a few times.
Now, keep in mind that Gurley was previously scheduled to earn $11,949,978 over the course of the next two seasons (2018 & 2019) as part of his rookie contract after his fifth-year option was picked up by the Rams earlier this offseason. In short, and looking at Gurley’s base value of his extension per Florio’s own numbers, his new money total was $57,499,022 for the four additional years, for an exact new money average of 14,374,755.50. (Note: Corry likes to take the five-year total of the extension ($59 million) and then subtract the old money and divide it by three years. Doing it his way presents a new money average of $15,683,340.67.)
Knowing that Gurley was previously scheduled to earn $11,949,978 over the course of the next two seasons and then adding the potential of two back-to-back franchise tags in after those two seasons, the running back technically was set to earn a total of $37,318,178 from 2018 through 2021. Corry was nice enough to do the math on Twitter for us and you can see his work on that below.
No offense but you are clueless on how to calculate franchise tags. Todd Gurley's would have been $11.556M & $13,867,200. I already know that his would have been a 20% increase of his 5th year option since the formula number would have right around $11M in 2020.
— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) July 25, 2018
Now let’s look at Gurley’s cash flow of his new deal and especially through the first three years (2018-2020). If you do the math, you’ll see that Gurley stands to earn $40 million through the first three years of his new deal, according to the published Florio numbers. Remember, he was previously looking at $37,318,178 through the next four seasons. Now, of that $40 million through the next three years, only $28,050,022 of it is new money because he was previously scheduled to earn $11,949,978 over the course of the next two seasons.
Here’s something else when it comes to Gurley’s cash flow. He’ll earn just $9 million more in the fourth year (2021), according to the way Florio has his numbers presented.
Let’s look and compare Gurley’s new contract numbers to what we think Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was recently offered and turned down. According to reports, Bell was only scheduled to receive a signing bonus of $10 million and that was supposedly the only fully guaranteed portion of the deal. If you believe that was the only fully guaranteed money Bell was offered, fine, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the full first-year take was around $20-$21 million with most of it fully guaranteed and that includes a $10 million signing bonus. Think about it, why would Bell turn down $14.544 million fully guaranteed in 2018 for just $10 million guaranteed. In short I believe he was really fully guaranteed right about what Gurley will receive in 2018, which is almost $22 million. we might never know for sure, however.
The Bell contract offer report also stated that the running back was scheduled to earn around $33 million through the first two years and $45 million through three. With that noted, we can only assume that the deal had some rolling guarantees similar to what Gurley received in his new deal. However, the fact that just $33 in total guarantees (full & injury) was reported and knowing that the Steelers likely didn’t fully guarantee that full amount, the second-year roster bonus in March of 2019 and base salary was likely guaranteed against injury and skill only in some way, shape or form. Now, was that first $33 million virtually fully guaranteed? Yes, but then we get into more semantics talk and I’m not interested in doing that any more.
Based on everything he knows so far about the two offers, Corry, who dont forget is a former NFL agent, wrote that he certainly understands why Bell turned down the Steelers final offer. Below is what he wrote just a short time ago.
Gurley’s contract validates Bell’s decision to reject a five-year deal reportedly in the $14 million to $15 million per year range containing a $10 million signing bonus. Slightly over $33 million of the money was in the first two years. The three year cash flow was $45 million. Instead, Bell is playing his second straight season on a franchise tag. He will be making $14.544 million this season once he signs his franchise tender to bring his two-year haul to $26.664 million.
Keep in mind that Bell needs to play another year now and not show any sort of real drop-off or suffer a significant injury if he wants to ultimately cash in bigger than Gurley during the 2019 free agency signing period. Sure, he and his agent might not have liked the money that was fully guaranteed versus what was virtually guaranteed by the Steelers, but like I have written previously, my money would have been on Bell collecting at least the first $33 million, the first two years of the deal and probably even the first three years ($45 million).
Assuming Bell’s reported offer is roughly correct, the running back needs to make up around $20 million by March of 2019 to have him even with what he would have earned from the Steelers in 2018 and 2019 ($33 million). Additionally, he’ll likely be shooting for rolling guarantees in his new free agent deal similar to what Gurley received from the Rams. In short, he’s taking a pretty decent-sized gamble, in my honest opinion. However, he likely took that gamble due to him knowing he will have pocketed close to $27 million in 2017 and 2018 in franchise tag money by 2019 free agency.
I will close this post with Corry’s thoughts on Bell past 2018 now that Gurley has effectively reset the running back market, so to speak:
Bell is probably playing his last season in Pittsburgh. Barring a serious injury or major regression, Bell won’t have any trouble landing a contract in free agency with significantly more than the $10 million fully guaranteed Pittsburgh was offering. The odds of Bell signing a deal that exceeds Gurley’s average yearly salary have increased. The dramatic change in the market for elite running backs should make those teams who will need to upgrade the running game and have an abundance of salary cap space, such as the Jets and Colts, more comfortable meeting or coming close to Bell’s asking price. He was reportedly looking for the same $17 million per year Brown got from the Steelers. Bell also alluded to needing $15 million per year in a rap song last year.