Rams acknowledge Cooper Kupp deserves a raise, but can NFL’s top receiver get one?
Next up: Cooper Kupp.
The five-year veteran is coming off a historic season. He led the NFL in receptions, yards receiving and touchdown catches, becoming the first player since 2005 to achieve the so-called triple crown.
Kupp was named NFL offensive player of the year, and then caught two touchdown passes — including the game-winner — in the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium, earning most valuable player honors.
Less than two years after Kupp signed an extension that included about $21 million in guarantees, Rams coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead said Kupp has earned a new contract.
But how much are the Rams willing to spend?
Donald — for the second time in his career — reset the market for elite defensive players Monday when he signed a deal that reportedly gives him a $40-million raise over the next two seasons and makes him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history.
The Rams and star defensive lineman Aaron Donald agreed to terms on a contract restructure that will make him the NFL’s highest-paid non-quarterback.
Kupp’s performance last year would appear to position him for the richest contract for a receiver in league history.
In recent months, the Miami Dolphins gave Tyreek Hill a contract that includes $72 million in guarantees, according to overthecap.com. Buffalo Bills receiver Stefon Diggs got $70 million in guarantees. The Las Vegas Raiders gave Davante Adams $66 million in guarantees.
Kupp was asked Tuesday if he was seeking a deal that would reset the market for receivers.
“No,” he said after the first practice of a mandatory minicamp, adding, “I’m not trying to compare myself. I’m not trying to say, ‘OK, well where was Tyreek at? All those guys that got deals, where were all those guys at? And I need to be higher than them in certain places.’ ”
Kupp said he did not have a timeline for getting a new deal. He emphasized several times that he viewed the process as a collaboration with the Rams.
“I want this to be something we can work on together,” he said. “Something that’s great for the team, something that’s great for me and my family as well. That place exists, and it’s just getting there.”
After the Super Bowl, the Rams quickly reached agreement with Stafford on a deal that could be worth as much as $160 million. It took longer with Donald, but the Rams and the three-time NFL defensive player of the year found common ground that culminated with Donald signing a restructured deal.
Donald, who was absent from organized team activity workouts, was on the field for the start of the mandatory minicamp, as was star cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The practice was performed mostly at a jog-through pace.
Donald said he was happy to be among teammates and looked forward to preparing for another possible Super Bowl run.
After last February’s Super Bowl victory, Donald had hinted at possibly retiring. How close was he to actually doing so?
“We ain’t got to worry about that now, because I’m here,” he said.
The office tower, plus a shopping center bought in March, are expected to become part of a sprawling mixed-use complex, with a Rams training facility, stores, restaurants, hotels and residences.
McVay reiterated that he had been in constant communication with Donald throughout the process.
“There was never a point in time where you really thought that was tilted toward him retiring, just based on our interactions,” McVay said.
Donald said he had kept himself in top physical condition.
“Always going to keep myself in shape, keep myself looking good,” he said, “because I like to take my shirt off.”
Running back Kyren Williams, a fifth-round draft pick from Notre Dame, had surgery to repair a broken right foot. McVay said he anticipated Williams would be available early in training camp. ... McVay married Veronika Khomyn on Saturday. “It was an amazing wedding,” McVay said. “Most importantly, Veronika had a great weekend.” ... Free-agent receiver Odell Beckham Jr. attended the wedding. “He knows the expectation,” McVay joked. “You come to the wedding, you’ve got to sign with the Rams.” McVay chuckled at the characterization of Beckham as a wedding crasher. “He was making the rounds, man,” McVay said. “There was a lot of coaches right there. He had an organic free-agent visit. I said, ‘You stay away from all those other coaches, man.’ ”
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