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Rams release Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews

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Oh how the mighty have fallen

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams have released running back Todd Gurley. The Rams will still owe Gurley a $7.55 million roster bonus on Friday, but they get out of the additional $10.5 million in salary and bonuses that were due Thursday at 1 p.m. PT. Gurley leaves behind $20.15 in dead money over the next two seasons. It was just a couple of seasons ago where Gurley led the NFL in total yards at 2,093 and touchdowns with 19. He helped lead the Rams to an 11-5 record, and they looked like they would be a high-flying offense for the next decade.

Injuries slowed what one of the most tenacious, physical backs in the league was. At some point, that position is going to stop getting big second contracts. It rarely, if ever, works out. These releases feel inevitable. I was pretty harsh on the San Francisco 49ers giving Matt Breida $3 million, but when it comes to extending running backs, the smart business decision is to invest in rookie contracts.

The Rams also released Clay Matthews, who has been trending the wrong way for the past couple of seasons. Matthews signed a two-year deal for $9.25 million last March. The Rams will eat $2 million in dead money, and save $3.75 against the cap. It’s been an awful calendar year for Los Angeles. A disappointing season. They went all-in on Jalen Ramey by trading two-first round picks. Now, they’re trying to create space and deal Brandin Cooks. Why? Because they’re stuck with a quarterback that is, at best, a top 15-20 QB in the league. If the Rams wanted to cut Jared Goff, they would eat $51 million in dead money.

Good times, good times.