By Eric D. Williams
FOX Sports activities NFL Author
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — After placing collectively one of the crucial prolific seasons ever by an NFL huge receiver, what extra can Los Angeles Rams star Cooper Kupp do?
Very first thing is to signal a giant new contract. The Rams rewarded Kupp for his manufacturing, loyalty and endurance, inking him to a reported three-year, $78 million contract extension Wednesday, together with $75 million in assured cash. That is reportedly essentially the most cash assured to a receiver in league historical past. His $22 million common wage over the 5 years of his new deal makes him the sixth-highest paid receiver within the NFL.
Is Cooper Kupp underpaid?
Cooper Kupp joins Aaron Donald as the newest Los Angeles Ram to hit a giant payday. Nonetheless, does Kupp stay underpaid? Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe debate whether or not the receiver deserved more cash.
Final season, Kupp turned the primary receiver to win the triple crown since Steve Smith achieved the feat for the Carolina Panthers in 2005. Kupp led the NFL in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16), and people larger-than-life numbers earned him the NFL Offensive Participant of the Yr Award.
For his quarterback, Matthew Stafford, the reply to what Kupp will do for an encore is within the particulars.
“That’s an unbelievable yr,” Stafford stated after the Rams’ final day of necessary minicamp Wednesday. “You possibly can’t sit there and go, ‘Effectively, the one factor to do now’s to go for two,500 yards should you’re Cooper, and I’ll throw for 7,000 yards,’ you realize what I imply? That’s unrealistic. You go on the market and attempt to discover methods to enhance issues which might be in all probability not going to be seen by any of you.”
Kupp stated he and Stafford labored greater than 500 hours outdoors the ability final season. The chemistry they developed helped them join on 22 scores, second-most in league historical past behind Tom Brady and Randy Moss (24) in 2007.
Within the postseason, Kupp completed with essentially the most receptions ever in a single playoff run (33). He totaled 478 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns within the postseason, trailing solely Larry Fitzgerald (546 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns in 2008) in league historical past.
Kupp, who completed with eight receptions for 92 receiving yards and two scores within the Tremendous Bowl, turned the primary huge receiver to win MVP within the massive recreation since Julian Edelman took residence the trophy in Tremendous Bowl LIII.
“It was an unbelievable factor, what he was in a position to accomplish final yr,” Stafford stated. “However had we not come away with the Lombardi, it might have felt completely different. And that’s crucial factor to folks on this group, him included, is successful.
“So long as we’re doing that, and he looks like he’s taking part in at a excessive stage, and I really feel like I’m taking part in at a excessive stage, that’s what we wish to do. We wish to be part of a successful staff and cleared the path if we are able to.”
The unassuming Kupp stated he was not involved about resetting the receiver market in his new deal, regardless of gamers corresponding to Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, Mike Williams and A.J. Brown receiving profitable, multiyear offers this offseason. With a yr left on the three-year deal he signed in 2020, Kupp stated he was extra concerned in negotiations this time round due to his expertise within the league.
“Being a couple of extra years into this and having somewhat extra data in regards to the enterprise aspect of issues has helped,” Kupp stated. “Simply having the ability to talk myself clearly what was essential to me after which the collaborative strategy and mutual respect we had for one another.”
Kupp wore a Stafford No. 9 jersey, posing in an image with spouse Anna after signing the brand new deal.
“To have the ability to signal that contract, your quarterback performs an enormous position in that,” Kupp stated. “So it was somewhat little bit of a nod to Matthew Stafford in that means.”
Kupp’s focus stays on bettering the little issues every day. He chatted with undrafted rookie Lance McCutcheon whereas strolling to the locker room after follow Wednesday. Like Kupp, an Jap Washington product, McCutcheon reduce his enamel within the Massive Sky convention at Montana State.
“Anybody that comes into our receiver room, we work collectively,” Kupp stated. “We attempt to be our greatest in lifting guys up to allow them to be one of the best model of themselves after they come onto the sphere. We now have a excessive commonplace. We maintain everybody as much as that and count on that you just’re striving towards that in the way you do issues.”
New offensive coordinator Liam Coen stated he nonetheless sees methods Kupp can enhance through the offseason, nevertheless it may not essentially present up within the statistics.
“Simply his physicality,” Coen stated. “You can see that he was bodily stronger, and he seemed sooner.”
Coen emphasised that it isn’t a lot straight-line pace for Kupp as it’s his capability to win on the prime of the route, routinely creating separation to make room for Stafford to cleanly ship the soccer.
“This stage is actually not about pace; it’s about separation,” Coen stated. “Should you can separate at this stage in opposition to the kind of DBs we see each week, you’re going to have a profitable profession. And it’s actually about: Are you able to play with pace and management in a sure yardage?
“The ball will not be taking place over folks’s heads on a regular basis. However he can actually win and separate inside that 15-to-20-yard vary, which is troublesome to cowl.”
Kupp joins foundational items Stafford and defensive sort out Aaron Donald in signing new offers this offseason (together with coach Sean McVay) because the Rams attempt to run it again in defending their Tremendous Bowl title.
However for the 28-year-old Kupp, the main focus stays on staying on the prime of his recreation and determining methods to get even higher.
“I had an unbelievable time final yr,” Kupp stated when requested how a lot he loved final season’s Tremendous Bowl run. “I really beloved coming in, being part of the sport plan and the method of attempting to determine the way you’re going to assault a protection and what are the little particulars which might be actually essential every week.
“Actually, successful video games helps. It’s not as enjoyable to arrange and lose. However I benefit from the course of a lot — and I do know it’s exhausting for folks to know this — however the finish result’s secondary to how a lot the method is essential to me. It’s understanding once you do issues the proper means and put together how you might be purported to, a whole lot of the instances the result’s going to be in the proper spot anyway.”
Perhaps 2,500 yards is not so unrealistic?
Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for greater than a decade, overlaying the Los Angeles Rams for Sports activities Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma Information Tribune. Comply with him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.
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