The Los Angeles Rams just did something that may be harder than back-to-back Super Bowl wins: signing Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp to historic contracts.
It may seem like ancient history, but there was a time when fantasy footballers preferred Robert Woods over Cooper Kupp. Woods was seen as the true WR1 on the Rams, while Kupp was a nice accompaniment.
What became a surprise to the majority of the NFL world should never have been: Kupp has been putting in the work for a historic wide receiver contract, he just needed to be paired with the right quarterback. Enter: Matthew Stafford, another underrated talent who spent the first decade of his career unjustly languishing outside of the limelight. In the first season that Stafford joined the Rams, in a year when Robert Woods was out and OBJ joined in, Kupp became a constant. It was his time to shine, and shine he did: Kupp is one of only seven wide receivers to win Super Bowl MVP.
As Los Angeles endeavors to become the first team to successfully run it back in two decades, they pulled off the greatest heist of the offseason: keeping two of their biggest talents in Rams House all while paying them handsomely. Aaron Donald, a future Hall of Famer who revolutionized his position, is now the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history. Then, the Rams extended Kupp for the next five years at $110 million.
It’s Kupp’s guarantee that’s making history: at $75 million, it’s the biggest backing a wide receiver or non-quarterback offensive player has ever seen.
Additionally, the Rams extended Matthew Stafford and brought in Bobby Wagner, another legendary defensive player who further solidifies the Rams defense.
Los Angeles Rams win the offseason with historic, integral signings
Bringing together talented veterans has always been the strength of Sean McVay’s Rams: it was those bold acquisitions that brought the 2018 Rams to the Super Bowl, and it’s impossible to discredit how Stafford and Beckham Jr. helped pave the way to a Super Bowl victory.
Unbelievably, the Rams are not only keeping these integral players, but by bringing in Wagner, they remain one of the strongest NFC contenders for next year’s title.
On Spotrac, Michael Ginnitti details how this is all possible in the aptly-titled “How the Hell are the Rams Doing This?”
“The Rams added or brought back 15 players, moved on from 3 under contract (trade, retirement, release), and by extending two notable players (Donald/Stafford) and restructuring more (Floyd), came away with almost $28M of additional cap space in 2022,” wrote Ginnitti. Of course, that was before Kupp’s extension was announced.
Even though the Rams did lose players like Andrew Whitworth and Von Miller this offseason, they broke the bank to keep core players on offense and defense. Still, OBJ remains unsigned, although NFL insider Ian Rapoport did say it’s not off the table quite yet.
However the 2022 season shakes out, the Rams have ensured that they have greatness for several years to come. Now, they’ll just have to make sure they draft the best young players to compliment these expensive veterans.