Rams release RB Gurley, LB Matthews

The Los Angeles Rams released running back Todd Gurley and linebacker Clay Matthews, the team announced Thursday.

Gurley officially was let go after what was reportedly an extensive effort to find a trade partner.

Gurley had yet to begin the massive extension he signed prior to the 2018 season. He has a cap hit of $17.25 million in 2020, the first season of a four-year, $57 million extension signed in July 2018.

The Rams avoided a $10.5 million bonus payment due Thursday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

"Damn I got fired on my day off #QuarantineAndChill," Gurley wrote on Twitter.

According to reports, the Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs were among the teams interested in Gurley.

Gurley reportedly met with the Rams two weeks ago to determine his fate.

Trading Gurley would have created a $12.6 million salary-cap hit while saving the team $4.65 million overall.

Gurley, 25, is a three-time 1,000-yard rusher and three-time Pro Bowl selection. In 73 games with the Rams, he rushed for 5,404 yards and 58 touchdowns and caught 218 passes for 2,090 yards and 12 TDs.

At the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, Rams general manager Les Snead indicated the franchise would be looking at existing contracts to find creative ways to work out an extension for cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Snead didn't directly make the Ramsey-Gurley connection. But the accounting is clear for a team with four players scheduled to count more than $15 million each against the 2020 salary cap. Quarterback Jared Goff checks in at a whopping $36 million.

Wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who has a cap hit of $16.8 million, is also on the trade block, according to reports.

The Rams said in February they were "working through" what a plan for Gurley could look like next season, coach Sean McVay said.

"You want to be consistent, but I think certain guys, just understanding the workload that their specific position entails or what is the best way to have a long-term solution for getting through the entire season," McVay said. "We've been consistent with that with Todd Gurley from when I first got here.

"I think it was just something that was talked about more because he missed a couple games toward the latter half of the '18 season, but those are things that you want to be able to be specific with each player while still being consistent in the big picture, and those are things that as we get closer to those dates, we'll discuss a little bit more."

The Rams already have paid a steep price for Ramsey. They landed the 25-year-old All-Pro cornerback in October via trade with the Jaguars. Jacksonville received two first-round picks and a 2021 fourth-round pick.

Snead said there is no hard timeline or deadline on the Ramsey negotiations. Further spreading Goff's new deal and juggling bonus structures could create more than $15 million in cap space for next season.

"We'd definitely like to have Jalen helping the Rams for more than just the 2020 season," Snead said.

Matthews, 33, registered 37 tackles and eight sacks in 13 games last season with the Rams, his first since signing a two-year contract worth up to $9.25 million last offseason.

A six-time Pro Bowl selection (2009-12, 2014-15), Matthews was owed a $2 million bonus on Friday. By releasing him prior to 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, the Rams saved that money and gain $3.75 million in cap space for 2020.

Matthews has recorded 519 tackles, 91.5 sacks and six interceptions in 156 career games with the Green Bay Packers (2009-18) and Rams.

--Field Level Media