Le Veon Bell spent more than two years pushing for an average contract of $ 15 million a year, but the runningback that eventually got that number was Todd Gurley of Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams announced a new deal to Gurley on Tuesday and according to ESPN Adam Schefter it is a four-year extension of its $ 60 million contract with $ 45 million guarantees.
Gurley, 23, was named the 2017 NFL Offensive Player by the year after completing the season as the leader in scrimmage yards (2,093) as well as rushing and receiving touchdowns (1
His contract is the largest ever for a run back in terms of guarantees and annual average. But what does the implications of the contract mean for the Rams, Aaron Donald, Le Veon Bell and other running backs in the NFL?
The Rams were wise to pay Gurley earlier rather than later
When Le Veon Bell received no new contract from the Pittsburgh Steelers before July 16 for players under the franchise day, it meant that The three-time Pro Bowler time in Pittsburgh is almost definitely coming to an end.
Barring a surprising reversal of fortune, Bell will reach free agency in March. The open market is likely to mean that he sees the big money the Steelers were never quite ready to part with. This gave the Rams essentially eight months to sign a contract with Gurley before Bell signed a huge contract setting a new standard for top running backs. As David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals hoped for a new contract, the Rams had to make a deal as soon as possible.
Four years, $ 60 million may not sound cheap, but if you add it to the two years and $ 11.95 that Gurley left for his rookie contract, that's a six-year, $ 71.95 million Dollar deal for running back. Gurney's $ 11.99 million a year salary is good for the Rams, who are considering where Bell will drive the market.
Bell targets $ 15 million per annum contract average
Gurley's new contract easily overshadows the NFL's top long-term running back contract, previously owned by Devonta Freeman. The past Atlanta Falcons signed a $ 41.25 million five-year contract last year, averaging $ 8.25 million per season.
Gurley put the market back, but the Rams were wise to be ahead of the wave of contracts after Bell. Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, Jordan Howard and other young running backs.
The value of Le Veon Bell is largely unchanged through Gurley's deal
Gurley's contract extension is not the best news for Bell, but it's not bad news either. With the full value of Gurley's deal averaging $ 12 million a year over the next six years, Bell will still be looking for more if he's likely to become a free agent in the near future.
Both players are bona fide No. Runningbacks that average more than 1,000 yards per season and play an important role in the passing game. Gurley got 64 passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns in 2017, while Bell had 85 receptions for 655 yards and two touchdowns.
Bell can use the framework of four-year extension of $ 60 million and its comparable assets to reach a target contract that amounts to about $ 15 million a year. He will also be supported by the competition of the free agency market, which drives up prices.
So was Bell's news Tuesday:
lol and ppl thought I was trippin? …
– Le Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) July 24, 2018
But the real winners are the entire running back market, which is likely to spark a wave of money because Gurley has driven the numbers much higher.
It's not the worst time to launch the NFL at the moment.
Do not worry, Aaron Donald. There is still money for you.
The Rams are spending money this off-season, but the exception is Aaron Donald, defensive player of the year 2017.
Donald, 27, plays the 2018 season on the fifth year option of his rookie contract. He has been asking for a new deal for more than a year and will probably stay out of the training camp again until he gets one.
So it's a grimace that another Rams player gets a premium contract while Donald keeps waiting.  But the Rams – despite all their big expenses – still have enough money to spend. This is a luxury that goes along with a quarterback on a rookie contract, and even after the Gurley deal, the Rams are still among the league leaders for 2019 and beyond.
As long as the Rams are able to secure a deal that will not boost Donald's salary cap in 2018 – something that is not hard to do – it will not be difficult for the team to ensure that it is in their long-term plans is.
"We're working on making Aaron a Ram for a long time … we'll keep working to create something with Aaron" – Snead
– TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) 24 July 2018
"This (Gurley extension) does not affect the Aaron Things" – McVay
– TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) July 24, 2018
Yes, the Rams have a lot of money issued to players like Ndamukong to add Suh and Aqib Talib to the squad, but the core of the team for the foreseeable future is his trio of young stars: Donald, Gurley and Jared Goff.
One was backed by the 2023 season today, and Donald will probably not have to wait long until it's his turn.