While the Rams are working on an extension for wide receiver Cooper Kupp, it doesn’t appear that a new contract will be in place before Week 1, according to Steve Wyche and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter links).
Los Angeles is hoping to get a fresh deal finalized for Kupp before the Rams open their season on Sunday Night Football, per Wyche, but there is “a lot of work to be done” before an extension is complete. Garafolo adds there’s “not a lot of optimism” that a deal is inked this weekend, but that obviously doesn’t mean an extension couldn’t be worked out in-season.
The Rams are already in a tight position from a salary cap perspective. Los Angeles extended star cornerback Jalen Ramsey earlier today, and that move should help them financially — the Rams had been roughly $600K over the cap before Ramsey’s new deal, but the ability to spread out his signing bonus should actually reduce his 2020 cap charge.
Kupp, on the other hand, is only making a tad over $2MM in 2020, so it could be difficult to reduce his 2020 cap figure. A substantial signing bonus would add to his cap number, and new salaries for Kupp over the next few seasons could also do harm to LA’s budget, as the club is only projected to have ~$9MM in cap space in 2021.
Projecting a Kupp extension is difficult given that the majority of top-end pass-catcher deals have been handed to outside receives. Among the top-15 highest-paid wideouts, the only player who spends most of his time in the slot is Browns receiver Jarvis Landry, who inked a five-year, $75.5MM deal in 2018. Kupp, who has arguably been more productive than Landry was at the time of his extension, would likely aim to top that annual value.
Kupp, a third-round pick in the 2017 draft, has been a key part of LA’s offense over the past three seasons. 2019 marked his best campaign to date, as the 27-year-old posted 94 receptions for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns.
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