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Todd Gurley, Jared Goff Deserved Record Contracts, Says Rams GM Les Snead

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2020

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff waits to run onto the field with running back Todd Gurley before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead doesn't have buyer's remorse when it comes to the record contracts he handed to running back Todd Gurley and quarterback Jared Goff.

According to ESPN's Lindsey Thiry, Snead was asked about the deals Tuesday and said: "Those are human beings that gave a lot to this organization and deserve to be compensated."

The Rams made Gurley the highest-paid running back in NFL history at the time when they signed him to a four-year, $57.5 million extension last year. L.A. then signed Goff to a four-year, $134 million deal this year with an NFL record $110 million in guaranteed money.

While both Gurley and Goff helped the Rams reach the Super Bowl last season, the contracts didn't necessarily pay dividends in 2019. L.A. finished just 9-7 and failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

After averaging over 1,962 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns in 2017 and 2018, there were question marks surrounding the health of Gurley's knee entering 2019. As a result, he failed to reach 300 touches for the first time since his rookie year in 2015.

Gurley also rushed for a career-low 857 yards and made just 31 catches for 207 yards, although he did reach the end zone 14 times.

Goff also experienced a drop-off after setting career highs in 2018 with a completion percentage of 64.9 percent, 4,688 passing yards and 32 touchdowns to go along with 12 interceptions. This season, Goff completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 4,638 yards, 22 touchdowns and 16 picks.

The 2016 No. 1 overall pick also lost five fumbles and had an especially tough time against top defensive teams such as the San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.

Snead has made a habit of trading away draft picks, including the Rams' first-rounders in both 2020 and 2021 for cornerback Jalen Ramsey. As a result, there is a belief that the Rams will struggle to improve their roster, especially since players like Goff and Gurley are taking up so much salary-cap space.

Even so, Snead pointed out that they may not be as hamstrung by the cap as the narrative suggests: "I do call it probably a false perception. Ultimately, I can see why that would be a perception, but maybe there's an element of staying a little too shallow."

The Rams still managed a winning record in 2019 and they will return in 2020 with a talented squad that includes (barring roster moves) Gurley, Goff, wide receivers Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks, tight end Tyler Higbee, Ramsey and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.

Perhaps no team in the NFL is more primed for a bounce-back in 2020 than the Rams, but improvements from Gurley and Goff will be key.