McVay: Rams didn't expect to lose Gurley

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay is planning to turn to a committee of running backs to replace Todd Gurley.

FILE PHOTO: Dec 29, 2019; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay reacts in the fourth quarter of the final Rams home game against the Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving to SoFi Stadium for the 2020 season. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“We certainly don’t replace the production, the way that he’s influenced and affected the game,” McVay said. “But what we can continue to do is try to adjust and adapt.”

McVay said he didn’t envision parting ways with Gurley, who signed with the Atlanta Falcons after being released by the Rams last month.

“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.

The 25-year-old Gurley wasn’t a free agent for even 24 hours, signing a one-year deal with the Falcons.

Gurley’s knee issue limited his involvement in the week-to-week gameplan and the Rams became cognizant of preservation. Part of that plan was using a third-round pick to draft Darrell Henderson last year.

Gurley never even began the four-year, $60 million deal he signed in 2018 with two years remaining on his rookie deal. Because of the deal, the Rams had to move on earlier than expected with massive cap numbers hampering the team, including quarterback Jared Goff, wide receiver Brandin Cooks and defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

The Rams saved $5.5 million against the cap by designating Gurley as a post-June 1 cut, allowing the franchise to spread an $11 million cap hit over two seasons.

“In this case, I don’t think it’s a salary cap issue,” Rams general manager Les Snead said. “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, obviously producing comes into play.”

Entering the 2020 draft, the Rams aren’t necessarily looking for another running back. Henderson, Malcolm Brown and John Kelly are the three running backs under contract for next season.

“What we want to be is a team that utilizes more than just one workhorse running the ball, have a different genre of skill sets and a complementary-type running game,” Snead said. “We have this big-picture vision, Darrell being a part of it, but we do expect other pieces to be a big part of it as well.”

--Field Level Media