It hardly seems possible, but Cooper Kupp’s year is about to get even better.
Only three months ago, the former Eastern Washington star made the winning catch to help the Los Angeles Rams win the Super Bowl.
Since then, Kupp has rubbed elbows with LeBron James (who didn’t have nearly the year Kupp just did), sold his suburban L.A. mansion for a tidy profit and recently had some fun crashing the Rams’ pre-draft press conference.
But the best is yet to come. Kupp is in line for a massive raise as the Rams attempt to sign him to a contract extension and keep him in L.A.
Talks are ongoing – and going well, both sides said before last week’s draft.
The Rams signed Kupp to a three-year, $47.3 million contract extension before the start of the 2020 season.
Suddenly that looks like a bargain.
Not only is the 28-year-old Kupp coming off one of the best seasons in NFL history, but the NFL market has seen a slew of big contracts signed recently by elite wideouts Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs.
In March, the Buffalo Bills reworked Diggs’ contract, adding four years and $96 million to the $25 million Diggs had remaining on the final two years of his contract.
Adams, formerly with the Green Bay Packers, was traded in March to the Las Vegas Raiders, who signed him to a five-year, $141 million deal. Almost $68 million of that is guaranteed.
Not to be outdone, the Miami Dolphins signed Hill to a record-breaking four-year, $130 million deal – with $72 million guaranteed – after getting him in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.
But as everyone knows, no one had a better year on the field than Kupp.
Kupp’s 2021 season ranks among the best in NFL history by a wide receiver. He led the league with 145 receptions, 1,947 yards and 16 touchdown catches – numbers that led to his selection as NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
He was even better in the postseason, catching 33 balls for 478 yards and six TDs. He also made game-winning plays in wins over Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Cincinnati.
Combined with recent slew of big contracts, it’s a sure bet that Kupp is in for a big raise. Currently, he’s is signed through 2023 with salaries of 14.5 million in 2022 and $14.25 million next season.
But how much?
Kupp said last week that he’s not trying to compete with other players’ contracts.
“I don’t think that’s kind of the approach that I take,” he told Andy Siciliano of NFL Media. “I think there’s a place you want to be. There’s a place that you feel is fair.”
“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 said.
Coincidentally or not, Kupp recently sold his mansion in suburban Westlake Village for $5.25 million. He and wife Anna bought the home less than a year ago for $4.1 million.
In the meantime, Kupp has been having fun. He was recently spotted at a Lakers game with LeBron James, and last week he had made a surprise virtual appearance at the Rams’ pre-draft press conference.
As general manager Les Snead and coach Sean McVay’s chatted, Kupp crashed the session and asked Snead a question about how much he values 40-yard dash times.
“Hey Les, can you address how you value the 40-yard dash going through the draft process?” Kupp jokingly asked.
Everyone got the joke.
Cooper Kupp didn’t exactly impress at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2017, running the 40-yard dash in what some experts called a “glacier-like” 4.62 seconds.
As McVay tried to suppress a laugh, Snead replied.
“You know what, some players prove the 40-yard dash wrong and then some players, we don’t listen to our own Bobby Wagner Rule and we wait till the third round because they run slower 40s instead of picking them a little earlier,” Snead replied.
“I respect that,” Kupp said. “I respect that process.”
Kupp also respects the process of contract negotiations. While several other prominent wideouts – Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown and Terry McLaurin – are skipping their teams’ offseason workouts, Kupp is hitting the field.
“Well, I think it’s important to be here, be around the guys and be around this team,” Kupp said last week.
“Whatever is going to get us in a place where we can compete for another world title, put us in a better position where we can be a better football team, that’s the goal,” Kupp said.
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