NFL Notes: Gurley signs record RB contract

The Sports Xchange

July 24, 2018 at 7:22 pm.

Dec 3, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley II (30) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 3, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley II (30) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams and star running back Todd Gurley agreed to a four-year contract extension, the team announced Tuesday.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the news on Gurley’s contract extension, which is for $60 million and includes $45 million in guaranteed money as well as a $20 million signing bonus. The two-time Pro Bowl selection’s average annual salary and guaranteed money represent the most for any running back in NFL history.

The contract extension ties Gurley to the Rams through the 2023 season and effectively resets the running back market in the NFL.

“Feel fortunate to be able to work with players like Todd,” coach Sean McVay said, via the team’s official website.

The 10th overall pick of the 2015 draft, Gurley had one year remaining on his rookie contract — plus a fifth-year option that the team had already exercised. He is scheduled to make $9.63 million in 2019.

Gurley is coming off a monstrous season in 2017 in which he led Los Angeles to the NFC West title. The 23-year-old became the first Rams player to win the AP Offensive Player of the Year award since Marshall Faulk in 2001.

–After the Rams reached agreement on a new contract with their top offensive player, the focus shifts to the status of the team’s best defensive player.

Next up on the contract docket for Los Angeles is Aaron Donald, the 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year who has been seeking a new contract since last year.

“Each situation is different,” Rams general manager Les Snead told reporters after Gurley’s signing. “Different players, different agents. You work on everything simultaneously, but you really don’t know when you’re going to get something done or not.”

–The Atlanta Falcons will open training camp on Thursday without five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones.

Jones will not report to camp in a bid to have his contract re-worked, multiple media outlets reported on Tuesday. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the 29-year-old Jones is comfortable sitting out all of camp.

The Falcons previously said that they would not adjust the deal for Jones, who could be fined up to $40,000 for each day he misses. The team’s first practice is Friday.

Jones is set to make $10.5 million in 2018 in the third season of a five-year, $71.25 million contract extension he signed in 2015. Falcons owner Arthur Blank told The Athletic that he currently is content to leave the matter in the hands of general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn.

–New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold did not report to training camp along with the team’s other rookies, the NFL Network reported.

Darnold, the Jets’ first-round selection (No. 3 overall), is among six 2018 NFL draft picks that remain unsigned. That includes five first-rounders, headed by No. 1 overall selection and fellow quarterback Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns.

New York’s veterans are not scheduled to report until Thursday and the first practice session is not until Friday.

Darnold was listed as the team’s No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart following last month’s minicamp. Veteran Josh McCown enters training camp as the starter with Teddy Bridgewater as his backup.

–San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is confident in his abilities.

That’s not exactly breaking news as presumably all quarterbacks need to be confident in order to thrive in the league. Garoppolo, however, believed he was better than former teammate — and three-time NFL Most Valuable Player — Tom Brady during his time with the New England Patriots.

“I knew that (Brady) was better than me in my first day in the NFL,” the 26-year-old Garoppolo told Joon Lee of “Naturally, you’re the rookie and he’s the veteran, but you have to have that mindset, that you want to be the starter.

“Even when I was a little kid, my brothers, whenever we would play, I would literally always think I was going to win. I wouldn’t, but I would always think that. It’s like when I go to New England, when I first got there, I thought in my head, ‘I’m better than this dude.'”

–The Minnesota Vikings have canceled Friday’s training camp practice in order to attend the memorial service for offensive line coach Tony Sparano, the team announced.

Sparano, who spent the past two seasons with the Vikings, died on Sunday morning due to arteriosclerotic heart disease, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. He was 56.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, Arteriosclerosis occurs “when the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body (arteries) become thick and stiff — sometimes restricting blood flow to your organs and tissues.”

Sparano is survived by his wife Jeanette, sons Tony and Andrew, daughter Ryan Leigh and four grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the Sparano family asked for donations to the American Heart Association.

–The Pittsburgh Steelers reached agreement on a four-year contract with rookie safety Terrell Edmunds, the team announced.

Edmunds was the Steelers’ first-round pick (No. 28 overall) out of Virginia Tech. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the deal is worth $10.8 million, including a signing bonus of nearly $6 million.

The signing of Edmunds leaves just six players from the 2018 draft class unsigned, including five first-round selections.

Before a shoulder injury ended his 2017 season in November, Edmunds registered 59 tackles and two interceptions for the Hokies.

–Seattle Seahawks star safety Earl Thomas has vowed repeatedly to stay away from the club until he gets a new contract.

Now, according to a report by NBC Sports Radio, Thomas is planning to completely sever ties with the only franchise he’s known.

“I’m told Earl Thomas will not report to the Seahawks,” NBC Sports Radio host Newy Scruggs posted Tuesday on Twitter. “He is done with Seattle. Plans to sell his house in Seattle. He will ONLY report if he gets a new deal.”

According to Scruggs, Thomas also is interested in playing for Oakland, telling Raiders owner Mark Davis to “come get him.” He offered a similar sentiment to Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett in December 2017.

–Detroit Lions star defensive end Ezekiel Ansah will open training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

Ansah, who became the NFL’s highest-paid defensive end when he signed his franchise tender in April, is still recovering after undergoing knee surgery in the spring.

A first-round pick (No. 5 overall) of the Lions in the 2013 NFL Draft, Ansah recorded a team-high 12 sacks, 44 total tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery last season despite missing two games with a back injury.

The 29-year-old Ansah has registered 44 sacks in 73 games over his first five seasons, including 14.5 in 2015 when he earned Pro Bowl honors.

–The Tennessee Titans will be releasing linebacker Kevin Dodd, according to a published report.

Dodd, a second-round draft pick of Tennessee in the 2016 draft, was told by the team that he will be waived, TitansOnline reported.

The Titans placed Dodd on the “did not report” list when he was a no-show on Sunday, the day players who were dealing with injuries during minicamp were due to be at training camp.

Dodd underwent a pair of foot surgeries with Tennessee that limited him to nine games in each of his two seasons with the club.

–Oakland Raiders left tackle Donald Penn will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, the team announced.

Penn is still recovering from foot surgery that ended his 2017 NFL season in December.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection had started 170 consecutive regular-seasons dating to his rookie season of 2007 before he was injured.

The 35-year-old Penn is entering his 13th season. Oakland used its top pick (No. 15 overall) in the 2018 NFL Draft to select offensive tackle Kolton Miller of UCLA.

–The New Orleans Saints placed wide receiver Brandon Coleman on the physically unable to perform list.

Coleman was sidelined for the team’s entire offseason program due to an undisclosed injury, the Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported.

The 26-year-old Coleman signed a one-year contract with the Saints in April after the team did not tender him as a restricted free agent.

Coleman had 23 receptions for 364 yards and three touchdowns during the 2017 regular season, when he played in 16 games, including six starts. He had four passes for 44 yards against the Carolina Panthers in the playoffs.

–Chargers rookie safety Derwin James allegedly was robbed at gunpoint last month in Los Angeles, according to a published report.

Per a warrant obtained by TMZ Sports, James and his uncle were approached by two men wielding handguns as they left an Italian restaurant on Sunset Boulevard on June 23. The men stole a Rolex watch and necklace from James before fleeing the scene in a nearby car.

In addition to the alleged theft, James had three of the tires on his Rolls-Royce slashed. Police are still searching for the culprits, per TMZ Sports.

James, who was the 17th overall pick of the 2018 draft, received a $7.1 million signing bonus as part of his four-year, $12.39 million deal with the Chargers.

–Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson plans to begin practicing this week as he keeps an eye on returning to the field for the team’s season opener.

Thompson, who sustained a broken fibula in Week 11 last season, said he doesn’t expect to be placed on the physically unable to perform list. The 27-year-old was around the facilities and on the sidelines during summer workouts, but did not practice with the team, per the Washington Post.

“I’m feeling pretty good right now, I will start practicing with the guys from day one but just taking it slowly…” Thompson told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday. “The focus is to really be ready by that first regular season game.”

Thompson had 39 receptions for 510 yards to go along with 294 rushing yards and six total touchdowns through 10 games last season.

–Baltimore Ravens rookie tight end Hayden Hurst returned to practice but left the field before the end of the session.

Hurst, who missed three of the team’s first four practice sessions with a reported soft-tissue injury, exited the field accompanied by a trainer with about 30 minutes remaining Tuesday, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The Ravens’ first-round pick (No. 25 overall) in the 2018 NFL Draft, Hurst is expected to be an integral part of the team’s overhauled receiving corps.

The Ravens lost two tight ends over the offseason. Dennis Pitta retired due to a hip injury and Ben Watson, the team’s second-leading receiver in 2017, left via free agency.

–The Rams placed defensive tackle Dominique Easley and rookie linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo on the physically unable to perform list.

Easley missed the entire 2017 season due to a torn ACL sustained in August but the Rams re-signed him to a one-year contract in March.

The 6-foot-2, 273-pound Easley signed with Los Angeles as a free agent prior to the 2016 season, when he recorded 3.5 sacks in a situational role.

Okoronkwo was taken by the Los Angeles in the fifth round of the NFL Draft in April. He played both linebacker and defensive end at Oklahoma, registering 17 of his 20 sacks in his final two seasons.

–The New England Patriots signed veteran defensive back Eddie Pleasant and first-year guard Nate Theaker.

Pleasant appeared in all 16 games with the Houston Texans in 2017, notching 27 total tackles, two sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and five special teams tackles.

In his six NFL seasons with Houston, the 29-year-old Pleasant appeared in 78 games, making one start. He has three interceptions, 2.5 sacks and 17 passes defensed.

Theaker, 24, spent last season on the practice squads of the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints. Released by the Saints in May, he appeared in 42 games at Wayne State, making 33 starts at right guard and both tackle positions.

–While the NFL and the players association work to find common ground on the league’s anthem policy, owners apparently will not be weighing in on the subject.

Mike Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals told ESPN on Tuesday that he and his fellow NFL owners have been “instructed” not to comment on the anthem issue.

“The league and the union are talking on this and we’re instructed to stand down while that’s ongoing,” said Brown. “I’m not going to sit here and stir the pot. They don’t want to hear from me right now. Let’s see how this bubbles up and I hope they can come up with some kind of answer that is acceptable to not just the clubs and the players but more the public.

“And let’s not forget the president!” Brown said with a laugh.

–Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly donated a 2008 custom-made motorcycle to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The one-of-a-kind 710-pound chopper, which arrived in Canton, Ohio, this week, was created and designed by Knievel Custom Cycles. The motorcycle includes a special Jim Kelly Hall of Fame logo and autographs from legendary daredevil Evel Knievel and his son Robbie Knievel.

“This is a donation unlike anything the Hall of Fame has ever received. It is fitting considering that Jim Kelly is one-of-a-kind,” Hall of Fame President David Baker said of the 58-year-old Kelly, who was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2002.

The chopper was delivered to Kelly in 2008 at his annual celebrity golf classic. It will be either exhibited to preserved in the Hall of Fame’s Ralph Wilson Jr. Pro Football Research & Preservation Center and archives.