When restricted free agent running back Malcolm Brown signed an offer sheet with the Lions in mid-March, it wasn't initially clear whether or not the Rams would match it.
After all, teams who sign a RFA to an offer sheet often structure the deal so that it's difficult for the original team to match.
That, however, was not the case for the Rams and Brown — as Los Angeles exercised its right of first refusal and now has Brown under contract through the 2020 season.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Texas in 2015, Brown has been a key member of the Rams' special teams units over the last few seasons, but really showed his mettle on the team's offense in 2018. Last year, Brown averaged 4.9 yards per carry and 10.4 yards per reception intermittently spelling running back Todd Gurley.
But because Gurley and Brown entered the league in the same year, Brown sticking around L.A. has some significance to the 2017 AP Offensive Player of the Year.
"I was happy. Malc's my boy," Gurley said of his reaction to finding out the Rams matched the Lions' offer sheet. "I'm super happy he's back, though — super happy. That's my guy, so I'm happy for him."
There's been some discussion about Los Angeles perhaps leaning more on its second running back in order to help preserve Gurley's health throughout the course of the season. While now-Lions running back C.J. Anderson clearly played a significant role in Los Angeles' run to Super Bowl LIII last year, Gurley said he feels like Brown can handle whatever the Rams may ask him to do on the offensive end.
"Malcolm's been doing what he's been doing these last couple years. Even last year, even before he got hurt, he's always been reliable," Gurley said. "If I go out, he's doing the exact same thing. If not, he can do it better. So Malc's a great running back."
Check out photos of the Los Angeles Rams players back in action for the offseason program.
"It doesn't really matter who's in the game — me, Malcolm, 'JD' [Justin Davis], John Kelly," Gurley continued. "That's why we've got such a great offense. It doesn't really matter about the player. It's about the whole system, everybody doing it. And we've got a great coach in coach McVay that's going to put us in great positions. So being with a guy like that, there's definitely no worries."
But even though Gurley has trust in all the Rams' backs, there's something special about his relationship with Brown.
"[O]bviously it's different for us because we came in the same year, we've been in the same room for years to come, so I'm stoked that we brought him back," Gurley said. "I'm glad he's not with Detroit, for sure."