If the Los Angeles Rams didn’t already know, they’ve certainly learned this offseason that there’s a cost to winning the Super Bowl.
The Rams lost offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell to the Vikings to become their head coach. They saw linebacker Von Miller and guard Austin Corbett leave in free agency due as both signed pricey deals with other teams.
They’ve also had to pay a heavy price to keep guys in Los Angeles for the long term. Quarterback Matthew Stafford agreed to a four-year, $160 million extension in March. Head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead will receive contract extensions, too, Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff told reporters in March.
A pair of other key players are still looking for extensions. Three-time defensive player of the year Aaron Donald recently lost his status as the highest-paid defensive player of the year and Cooper Kupp was statistically the best receiver at his position in 2021.
With several receivers singing record contracts this offseason, former NFL agent turned CBS Sports analyst Joel Curry projected what contract Kupp could end up signing.
Former Agent Believes Kupp Should Be One of The Highest-Paid Receivers
In September 2020, Kupp signed a three-year, $48 contract extension. While Kupp still has two years left on his deal, Curry’s calling for the Rams to give Kupp a nice pay increase.
Curry believes paying Kupp, who turns 29 in June, $22 to $26 million per year would be a “fair” deal. Curry based that by calculating the average deals of the three highest ($25.6 million), the five highest ($24.6 million), and the 10 highest-paid ($22.2 million) receivers on a per-year basis.
For a comparison, Curry used Bills receiver Stefon Diggs. After putting up two Pro Bowl seasons in his first two years in Buffalo, Diggs signed a four-year, $96 million extension with $70 million in guarantees in April. Like Kupp, Diggs also had two years left on his current deal at the time of signing his extension.
Curry wrote why Kupp signing a deal similar to Diggs’s would be preferable to him.
“Diggs has a favorable cash flow,” Curry wrote. “It’s on par with the four-year extensions quarterbacks have received with two years left on contracts over the last couple of years. This is surprising because quarterbacks contracts customarily have better cash flow than deals at other positions.”
From a per-year standpoint, Diggs’s contract is the fifth-highest ($24 million) among all receivers. While Kupp could reasonably ask to be the highest-paid receiver in football after earning the receiving triple crown and winning Super Bowl MVP in 2021, it doesn’t seem like he’s demanding to get that title, too.
Kupp Shares His Contract Wants
In March, history was made by wide receivers twice. Upon getting traded to the Raiders, Davante Adams signed a $five-year, $141.3 million contract extension that will net him $28.5 million per year, which was the highest ever for a receiver. A week later, Tyreek Hill topped Adams by signing a four-year, $120 million extension worth $30 million per year when he was traded to the Dolphins.
Kupp isn’t looking to make history again though with his next deal.
“I don’t think that’s really kind of the approach that I take,” Kupp told reporters in April. “I definitely think there’s a place you want to be. There’s a place that you feel like is fair. A place for me and for this organization. … I’m not trying to beat anybody. I’m not trying to compare myself to anyone else. It’s more about being in a place that’s just right for both sides.”
Kupp’s comments from April should be a bit of a relief for the Rams to hear. But if Curry’s projection is close to the truth, Los Angeles will still have to pay a pretty penny to lock him up long-term.