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Rams RB Todd Gurley thanks Rodger Saffold for time with franchise

Todd Gurley, Rodger Saffold, Rams

Running got a bit harder for Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley with guard Rodger Saffold signing with the Tennessee Titans. However, Gurley expressed his gratitude for one of his blockers on Twitter yesterday.

Saffold’s deal with the Titans is for four years, $44 million with $22.5 million in guarantees, as reported by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The 30-year-old lineman had spent his entire nine-year career with the Rams to this point. Saffold is also versatile, having played left tackle and both guard positions at various points for the Rams. The former second-round pick was the longest tenured Rams player.

Los Angles could lose their center, John Sullivan, who became a free agent this offseason. Conversely, the Titans added a top guard to an offensive line that allowed the 10th most sacks in the NFL in 2018. His arrival will also serve to sure up an already dominant running game. In 2018, Tennessee ranked seventh in the NFL in rushing yards.

Saffold will be tied with Gabe Jackson of the Oakland Raiders as the sixth-highest paid guard in the NFL.

The Rams’ entire offense is reliant on getting Gurley going, and then using play action and misdirection to keep quarterback Jared Goff upright. Losing Saffold not only means that Goff will likely see more pressures next season, it makes it more difficult for Gurley to find a groove on the ground.

Gurley also missed the final two games of last year’s regular season, and looked like a shell of his former self during the playoffs. He was often outplayed by backup C.J. Anderson. According to a report for The Athletic, Gurley is dealing with arthritis in his knee. However, head coach Sean McVay said that he would rather categorize the injury as “wear and tear.”

The Rams made it to the Super Bowl last season in large part due to their ability to protect Goff and give Gurley running lanes. Both those tasks will be tougher next season without Saffold.