Todd Gurley is no longer a Los Angeles Ram, and that's not exactly a scenario that Rams coach Sean McVay says he could have imagined over the past year or two.
"I don't think so," McVay said Monday as he spoke with reporters for the first time since Gurley was released 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."
The Rams cut Gurley less than two years after signing him to a four-year, $60 million extension that included $45 million guaranteed -- a record amount for an NFL running back. Gurley has since agreed to a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons, though the deal is pending a physical.
Rams general manager Les Snead said Monday that he did not regret signing Gurley to a long-term extension that amounted to the star back earning $22.6 million more than he would have on his original, five-year rookie deal.
"The yards he gained, the touchdowns he scored for us, the championships -- where it's two division titles, the conference championship, the Super Bowl appearance, you know that would be tough to regret," Snead said. "What I can say is, obviously, I think we all wish the partnership could have lasted longer."
The Rams' decision to move on from the former NFL Offensive Player of the Year came at an expensive cost. The Rams cut Gurley with a post-June 1 designation, which means they will spread the dead-money cap charges of $11.75 million over two seasons. However, they also will have $5.5 million in cap savings on June 2.
McVay was short on specifics when asked why the Rams moved on from Gurley, who over the past three seasons under McVay racked up 4,988 scrimmage yards and scored 54 touchdowns.
"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. "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."
Said Snead: "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, obviously producing comes into play."
Gurley never appeared to fully return to form following a nagging knee issue that sidelined him for the final two games of the 2018 regular season. Last season, the Rams' game plan moved away from depending on the All Pro back, as he experienced a decline in touches and rushed for a career-low 857 yards.
While the Rams said goodbye to Gurley this offseason, they have warmly welcomed the return of veteran defensive lineman Michael Brockers, who re-signed following an initial agreement to join the Baltimore Ravens in free agency.
Brockers' return not only provides a boost to the interior of the defensive line, but also to the relationship between McVay and star defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who expressed anger and frustration about Brockers' initial departure.
"I know Aaron was finally talking to me again once we got Michael back," McVay said with a small chuckle. "He was a little upset with me for a couple days."
An eight-year pro, Brockers signed a three-year, $24 million contract.