Cooper Kupp

Deadline Notes: Dolphins, Saints, Rams

The Dolphins are one of the most explosive teams in the NFL and sit tied atop the AFC with a 6-2 record. While Miami has clearly established themselves as a contender, the team remained quiet through the deadline. In fact, head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters that the Dolphins really didn’t have any trades in the works leading up to the deadline.

This is mostly because of the team’s IR situation, and the Dolphins will soon see a number of talented players return from injury. As McDaniel explained to reporters, those additions should give the Dolphins the boost that they would have been seeking via trade.

“Yeah, we actually have several of the best trades that exist in the works. Ok? You’re talking about getting players with no compensation, or no assets given, from injury. So, I mean, we’re in a great spot,” McDaniels said (via Adam H. Beasley of

“I think [GM] Chris [Grier] is always, and will always enter into, you know, whatever conversations that are sought out to him and, you know, that’s that’s a part of his job. He doesn’t labor my mind with, ‘Hey, you know, like NFL gossip, like, hey, I talked to this guy and this guy,’ you know, he, he, he brings it to my attention when we need to discuss it when it, when it’s to a serious platform.

“And he didn’t discuss anything. And that speaks to where we’re at with our football team. We’ve been playing some good football, and then we have some players that are very good players that are returning.”

Safety Jevon Holland (concussion), cornerback Xavien Howard (groin), and center Connor Williams (groin) are among the injured players who could return to the field as soon as this week.

More notes following the trade deadline:

  • Following a quiet deadline day, Saints GM Mickey Loomis admitted that he discussed acquiring players for draft assets but never actively shopped any of the players on his roster. “We talked to a couple of teams about a couple of things, more in the acquisition area as opposed to trading somebody,”  Loomis said (h/t John Hendrix). “We didn’t really talk about trading anyone from our team. We did talk to a couple teams about an acquisition, but I wouldn’t say it ever got really serious.” The Saints currently sit with a 4-4 record and are tied with the Falcons atop the NFC South.
  • The Rams have a 3-5 record and are facing some uncertainty at QB, leading some pundits to wonder if they’d be sellers at the deadline. While the team received calls on some veterans, the Rams never shopped any of their star players. According to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic, the Rams didn’t consider moving Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, or Aaron Donald despite the front office potentially having eyes on the 2024 campaign.
  • Similarly, the Cowboys didn’t initiate any trade talks with teams, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano. The reporter notes that the front office did receive some calls on their defensive depth, but the Cowboys were content sticking with their current squad.
  • Some details on trades that were actually made: the conditional seventh-round pick that the Cardinals sent to the Vikings alongside QB Joshua Dobbs was a selection that originated with the Falcons, per Howard Balzer. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Brady Henderson notes that the Giants are paying most of the remaining $10MM on Leonard Williams‘ contract, with the Seahawks owing their new player only $647K.

Rams To Activate Cooper Kupp From IR

OCTOBER 7: Kupp is officially back on the active roster. The team announced that they’ve activated the wide receiver from injured reserve today. In addition to getting their star wideout back on the field, the Rams also announced the activation of rookie linebacker Ochaun Mathis from IR. The sixth-round pick out of Nebraska could end up making his NFL debut this week.

Additionally, Los Angeles announced that practice squad wide receiver Austin Trammell will be signed to the active roster. Trammell has been a standard gameday elevation for the past the three games. A practice squad player can only be elevated three times and still be able to revert to the practice squad under one contract. In order for Trammell to see game action again, the Rams needed to officially sign him to the 53-man roster. If they want him back on the practice squad, he’ll have to last through waivers. If they are able to re-sign Trammell to a new practice squad contract, he will be eligible for three more standard gameday promotions before the process will need to be repeated.

OCTOBER 6: Cooper Kupp‘s ramp-up period will be capped at one week of practices. Sean McVay confirmed the All-Pro wide receiver will make his season debut in Week 5 against the Eagles.

Down with a hamstring injury, Kupp will return when first eligible and become the Rams’ first IR activation this season. Kupp battled a hamstring issue for nearly the Rams’ entire training camp, and a setback led to the team moving him to IR. Los Angeles’ receiving situation has changed since Kupp last played, but the team will obviously feature a more potent pass-catching corps with its top target available.

During Kupp’s absence, the Rams have seen fifth-round rookie Puka Nacua deliver one of the most surprising first months by a rookie wide receiver in NFL history. Prior to D.J. Moore‘s Thursday-night dominance, Nacua sat second in receiving yards (501). Only Justin Jefferson (543) had Nacua beat through four games. The Rams appear to have hit big on a Day 3 receiver out of BYU, and they have seen Tutu Atwell take steps forward after struggling to make an impact through two seasons. Atwell will enter the L.A.-Philadelphia matchup with 22 receptions for 270 yards.

It will be interesting to see how Kupp mixes in with the promising younger talents, but the Rams have seen their high-priced wideout run into injury trouble during much of the past two years. An ankle issue led to Kupp’s 2022 season ending midway through. During what became a woeful Super Bowl title defense, the Rams lost Kupp, Matthew Stafford and Aaron Donald for the season. Kupp was the first of those cornerstone players to be moved to IR, last playing in Week 10 of the ’22 season. Kupp underwent ankle surgery and entered this offseason healthy but encountered the hamstring issue days into training camp.

Kupp, 30, saw a specialist about his hamstring injury just before the season, and while concerns existed about a nerve problem, the seventh-year receiver instead avoided a serious malady and moved toward a return. The Rams gave Kupp a monster extension in 2022, ripping up his previous deal — despite the accomplished slot weapon only signing it in September 2020 — after his historic 2021 season.

Stafford and Kupp formed an instant connection in 2021, and the Division I-FCS product notched a receiving triple-crown season. Kupp nearly brought down Calvin Johnson‘s single-season yardage mark, finishing with 1,947 yards in a 16-touchdown season. Kupp also nearly broke Larry Fitzgerald‘s record for receiving yards in a single playoffs, closing L.A.’s four-game slate with 478 and six TDs. The Super Bowl LVI MVP could not complete his follow-up effort last season but averaged 90.2 yards per game — his second-best average as a pro — and will return to a team that now features a better supporting cast.

Latest On Rams’ Receiving Corps

OCTOBER 6: Unsurprisingly, given his practice participation so far this week, Kupp is poised to take the field in Week 5. Dianna Russini of the Athletic reports Kupp is expected to play on Sunday in the absence of any setbacks taking place in the next two days. The All-Pro is currently on a snap count at practice, though, as the team remains cautious with the return process. Presuming his workload sees an incremental increase in the immediate future, Kupp will be in line to make his 2023 debut.

OCTOBER 5: Cooper Kupp took a major step towards his return to the field. Per ESPN’s Field Yates, the Rams star wideout was upgraded to a full participant at practice today.

While it’s still uncertain if Kupp will see the field for Week 5, it’s undoubtedly a good sign that he put in a full day’s work on Thursday. The receiver was designated for return by the Rams yesterday, and he was later listed as a limited participant at Wednesday’s practice. The Rams technically have 21 days to activate Kupp from injured reserve, but his participation at practice points to him being activated way before that October 25 deadline.

Kupp has been dealing with hamstring injuries that forced him off the field for most of training camp, and his subsequent placement on injured reserve meant he’d be sidelined until at least Week 5. While the Rams will surely lean on Kupp to determine when he’s fully ready for game action, coach Sean McVay indicated that the timing of Kupp’s activation would be a collective decision.

Fortunately for the Rams, the offense hasn’t missed a beat without their All-Pro receiver. Rookie fifth-round pick Puka Nacua has been a revelation, with the wideout setting a number of records through his first four games in the NFL. Yahoo’s Jori Epstein explored how the BYU product ultimately landed in Los Angeles as the 20th wide receiver off the board.

As the writer notes, Nacua’s issues with missed games likely contributed to his late-round grade, and he also had an underwhelming 40-yard-dash performance during his pro day. Fortunately for the prospect, the Rams have never been all that interested in those pro-day performances, and the team was still intrigued with Nacua’s ability to make tough catches and his willingness to block both defensive ends and defensive backs.

The Rams seem to have hit on their late-round pick. Nacua has hauled in 31 catches through four weeks, an NFL record. When Kupp comes back, Matthew Stafford will have a number of worthy targets to throw to.

Rams Open Cooper Kupp’s Practice Window

OCTOBER 4: As expected, Kupp is back at Rams practice. The team announced the All-Pro wide receiver’s designation for return Wednesday. This starts Kupp’s 21-day activation clock. The Rams will have three weeks to move the seventh-year veteran back to their active roster. Los Angeles also designated linebacker Ochaun Mathis for return.

Teams have eight IR-return activations available each season. Should both Kupp and Mathis return within the next three weeks, the Rams will be down to six. It is unknown if the Rams are prepared to redeploy their top weapon in Week 5, but The Athletic’s Dianna Russini notes Kupp is pushing to play Sunday. Although Kupp’s visit with a specialist proved concerning, Russini adds the injury was not as serious as the team initially feared.

SEPTEMBER 29: The Rams appear close to having their top wideout available in the near future. Cooper Kupp will return to practice next week, head coach Sean McVay said Friday.

As a result, Kupp’s 21-day window to be activated will open in the coming days. Players on IR are required to be activated within three weeks of returning to practice; if not, they are shut down for the rest of the campaign. Kupp’s case has been trending toward a quick activation recently, so it comes as no surprise that he is in line to suit up in the near future.

A pair of hamstring injuries cost Kupp most of training camp and led to his IR stint to begin the season. He thus has plenty of lost time to make up for in the coming days, but the All-Pro likely won’t need much in the way of practice to return to game shape. The decision on when to officially activate him will be a collective one, McVay noted. The readiness of Kupp (who consulted a specialist to gather further information on the injury) himself will be taken into account, of course.

“100 percent, it’s our dialogue,” McVay said of Kupp, via The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue (subscription required). “I trust the way that he knows how to feel. So, he’s practicing next week. We’re gonna see how he feels… We’re not going to do anything that’s reckless. But I also have enough trust and confidence in our relationship, knowing how intentional he is about educating himself [and] using the information at his disposal. There’s an element of, ‘There’s always going to be a risk no matter what’… If he feels good enough, and the situation [is] in alignment where we’re ready, we’re gonna get Cooper back and ready to compete for us.”

The Rams have had one of the league’s most productive passing games without Kupp so far, ranking fourth in the league with an average of 303 yards per game. Still, the former Triple Crown winner’s return will provide a signficant boost to the team’s offense, one which has relied heavily on fifth-round rookie Puka Nacua. Los Angeles has elected to begin a youth movement at a number of positions in 2023, but the 30-year-old Kupp will reprise his role as the focal point of the offense upon return.

The latter was limited to nine games due to an ankle injury last year, so remaining on the field for the rest of 2023 will be a priority in addition to another high-end statistical performance. Kupp – along with newly-extended tight end Tyler Higbee – will give the Rams a pair of consistent veterans in the passing game as they look to improve from their 1-2 start to the season.

NFL Injury Updates: Carr, Kupp, Beckham

After taking a big shot to his throwing shoulder in a Week 3 loss to the Packers, Saints quarterback Derek Carr is reportedly unlikely to appear when New Orleans plays host to the Buccaneers this Sunday, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. Backup quarterback Jameis Winston is set to start in his place.

Carr wasn’t necessarily struggling in his debut season playing for any team other than the Raiders, but he wasn’t striving either. After winning the first two games of the season, Carr was only averaging 266.5 passing yards per game with one touchdown and two interceptions. Protection had been a bit of an issue as he had been sacked four times in each of his first two starts with the Saints. This past weekend, that questionable protection led to the shoulder injury that’s expected to hold him out of this week’s game.

Winston will now, once again, take the reins of the Saints’ offense. Over four years with the team, Winston has appeared in 15 games: five coming off the bench and 10 as a starter. In his first season as a full-time starter in New Orleans, Winston started the season 5-2 while throwing 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions before a torn ACL would end his 2021 season early. Last year, Winston started three games despite reports of fractures in his back and went 1-2 with four touchdowns and five interceptions before spending the rest of the season as QB2 behind Andy Dalton.

Winston will get his chance to prove he can still be an effective starter in the NFL this weekend while Carr recovers. According to Nick Underhill of, no consideration has taken place in respect to moving hybrid tight end Taysom Hill to quarterback this week.

Here are some other injury updates from around the league:

  • ESPN’s Sarah Barshop provided an update today on the recovery timeline of Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp. She reported that head coach Sean McVay told the media that it is “the hope” that Kupp will be able to come off of injured reserve as soon as he is eligible to in Week 5. Kupp has missed the first three games of the season due to a hamstring injury and will have to miss this weekend, too, due to his stint on IR. McVay was hesitant to make any promises that might pigeonhole his All-Pro wideout, but the update is surely encouraging news for the Rams’ offense.
  • The injury woes will continue a little longer for Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. as ESPN’s Dan Graziano tells us that Beckham is likely to miss “another game or two” with the ankle injury that’s dogged him since the offseason. While Baltimore’s offense will have to do without Beckham, Graziano reports that running back Justice Hill has a chance to return this week from the toe injury that held him out of last week’s loss.

Rams Placing WR Cooper Kupp On IR

The scare the Rams experienced when Cooper Kupp left a Tuesday night practice early with a hamstring injury over a month ago has finally come to fruition. After announcing that he wouldn’t be available for Week 1 and threatening a stint on injured reserve, Los Angeles has officially made the move, guaranteeing that the former All-Pro receiver will miss at least four games, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Kupp’s recovery and comeback from last year’s ankle surgery hit a snag when he was forced to leave a night practice in early August before the rest of the team. He made the decision to visit a specialist in Minnesota a week ago in an attempt to gather more information about his injury. At the point, it was becoming clear that Kupp likely wasn’t going to be ready for a Week 1 return.

That prediction became a reality when head coach Sean McVay confirmed that Kupp would not be available for the team’s season opener and explored the possibility of Kupp heading to IR. Kupp’s season-ending ankle surgery last year forced him to sit out the last eight games of the 2022 season. Unfortunately, the 30-year-old wideout is set to extend that streak of missed games at least another four weeks.

The Rams are going to have an interesting situation on their hands contractually if Kupp is forced to miss much more time. Kupp is only two years removed from winning Offensive Player of the Year after completing the receiving triple crown by leading the league in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns, but Kupp’s financial impact is set to hit much harder soon. Over the next three seasons, Kupp is due to hold cap hits of $29.78MM in 2024, $29.78MM in 2025, and $27.33MM in 2026. He’ll be 33 years old in that final year.

If Kupp has trouble getting back to the field soon, the Rams might need to start exploring options to preserve cap space. Whether that involves a restructured contract or Kupp in a different uniform is subject to speculation, but his extended absence is not making things easy for Los Angeles.

Rams WR Cooper Kupp To Miss Week 1; IR Stint Possible

SEPTEMBER 6: Kupp will indeed miss Week 1, McVay confirmed on Wednesday. More notably, he added that an IR stint is not out of the question for the 2021 triple crown winner, as noted by ESPN’s Sarah Barshop. Placing Kupp on injured reserve would guarantee at least a four week absence and hinder the Rams’ offense even further to begin a season in which the unit already faces plenty of questions.

SEPTEMBER 2: As the Rams go into Sean McVay‘s seventh season, this is easily their most unusually constructed roster during the Super Bowl-winning HC’s tenure. A wave of unknown rookie-contract commodities surround the three stars the team extended in 2022. While two of the Rams’ pillars are back from 2022 injuries, Cooper Kupp is looking unlikely to start the season on time.

McVay said Kupp encountered a setback in his recovery from a late-summer hamstring injury this week, and’s Ian Rapoport indicates the former All-Pro wide receiver is visiting a doctor in Minnesota today attempting to gather more information about his injury. As it stands now, Kupp is likely to be held out of the Rams’ Week 1 game against the Seahawks, Rapoport adds. Earlier this week, McVay called Kupp “day to day,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds.

Kupp initially suffered the injury August 1, and it is certainly a storyline to follow for a Rams team that is largely retooling. Matthew Stafford and Aaron Donald will return from their respective 2022 injuries on time, but Kupp’s absence will probably extend into another season. Kupp saw his 2022 season end due to an ankle injury that led to a surgery. Although Kupp began training camp on time, he did not make it through a week of practices before going down with this separate issue.

Seeing a specialist eight days before Week 1 does not point to Kupp beginning his age-30 season on time. The Rams gave Kupp a three-year, $80.1MM extension during the 2022 offseason. That contract contained $70MM guaranteed. That did not represent the guarantee at signing, but in March, all of that $70MM became locked in for Kupp. The former third-round pick is going into his seventh NFL season.

In 2021, Kupp completed one of the greatest receiving seasons in NFL history, leading the league in receptions, yards and touchdowns. The slot maven capped the year off by scoring the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl LVI, en route to MVP honors. The Rams ripped up a contract he had agreed to in 2020; that deal still had two seasons remaining. Just as Los Angeles did for Donald, who had three years left on an extension he signed in 2018, the team rewarded Kupp for his 2021 dominance.

A year after authorizing those contracts, the Rams look quite different. They lost a number of Super Bowl starters and have rookie deals surrounding their star trio’s big-ticket contracts. Kupp still represents the team’s runaway No. 1 target. Van Jefferson, Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell, Demarcus Robinson and fifth-round rookie Puka Nacua round out L.A.’s receiving cast.

NFL Injury Updates: Kupp, Moss, Anderson

Last night, the Rams suffered a scare as former All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp left a Tuesday night practice early with a hamstring injury, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The veteran underwent an MRI to determine the extent of the damage early this morning.

While many players who talked with the media didn’t see the injury occur, it’s believed that he was forced to pull up while running a redzone route, leading to concern as a non-contact injury. Without details being released, a spokesperson for the team confirmed the injury.

Kupp’s presence in the Rams’ offense is vital. A year after winning the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award, Kupp once again led the team in receiving yards last season. What’s amazing about that is that, this time, he did it despite missing eight games due to injury. If he had continued to play the remainder of the season and produce at the same pace, he would have finished the season with the third-most receiving yards in the league last year, behind only Justin Jefferson and Tyreek Hill.

After Kupp missed the back half of the season last year with a high ankle sprain, the team is going to be delicate with any injury situation heading into the preseason. They will be cautious with Kupp moving forward, but Los Angeles does expect that he may be able to return “for scrimmages in a few weeks.”

Here are a couple of other updates on injuries from around the league:

  • One of Denver’s newest young cornerbacks will be cutting it close to play in Week 1 of his rookie season, according to Troy Renck of Denver7. The Broncos‘ second of two third-round picks, former Iowa cornerback Riley Moss underwent “core/sports hernia surgery” this week in Philadelphia. The recovery is expected to take around four weeks, which will have Moss back just in time to debut for the regular season if he can avoid any setbacks.
  • The Patriots were really hoping to see former Broncos offensive tackle Calvin Anderson step up and compete for a starting tackle job on their offensive line this summer. Unfortunately, Anderson began camp on the non-football illness list with an undisclosed illness. When asked about a timeline for Anderson’s return, head coach Bill Belichick gave the noncommittal response of, “We’ll see how it goes,” telling reporters that he doesn’t have a crystal ball. It’s unclear what form of illness could be holding Anderson out for such a long period of time without hope for reprieve, but based on Belichick’s answer, New England may need to start looking at other options in their tackle competition.

Rams, Cooper Kupp Agree On Restructured Contract

The Rams were able to free up some cap space on Wednesday by restructuring wide receiver Cooper Kupp‘s contract, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. The team has a number of options for how to use that money, and we should see it spent in the coming weeks.

Kupp signed a three-year, $80.1MM contract extension almost exactly a year prior after winning the 2021 Offensive Player of the Year Award. The Eastern Washington product earned the award for leading the league in all major receiving categories with 145 receptions for 1,947 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

The restructured deal converted $13.92MM of Kupp’s base salary into a signing bonus. The move opened up $10.44MM in cap space for Los Angeles. While Kupp’s cap hit for this year reduced by that amount, it still looms large at $17.36MM, and his future cap hits each increased by $3.48MM apiece.

The cap relief leaves the Rams with approximately $10.75MM of cap space for the 2023 season. While many LA fans held hopes that the move to open up space was a signal that the team was gearing up for a run at free agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, they’ll likely end up disappointed. The more likely scenario is that the Rams need that money for players already in-house.

The Rams have a massive 40-man rookie class on their roster this summer. 26 of those rookies were signed as undrafted free agents, but the remaining 14 were draft picks. So far, Los Angeles has only signed four of those draft picks, leaving 10 rookies who still need to sign their initial four-year contracts. After getting those 10 rookies under contract, the team likely won’t have much of that cap space left over.

After missing eight games in 2022, Kupp will attempt a strong comeback in the coming season to live up to his massive contract. In the meantime, the cap space opened up by his restructured deal has some potential in-house responsibilities before the team can go shopping.

Rams Committed To Retaining Matthew Stafford

After a disastrous title defense in 2022, the Rams are taking a far different approach to this offseason than they have in years past. That has already led to a number of high-profile departures, but a complete tear-down will not be taking place.

During a press conference leading up free agency, general manager Les Snead confirmed that quarterback Matthew Stafford is one of a number of veterans who remain firmly in the team’s plans for 2023 and beyond. “I think we’ll definitely rely on Matthew, he’s definitely one of our pillars,” he said, via The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue (subscription required). “He’s definitely someone we’re going to rely on, [who] we’re gonna have to rely on as we do remodel this.”

Snead, as noted above, declined to use the term ‘rebuild’ to describe the Rams’ situation, one which comes after years of aggressive moves aimed at adding not only Stafford but several other veterans who helped them win Super Bowl LVI. Now, they are destined to move in a different direction as the clearing of expensive contracts has already begun, resulting in the release of edge rusher Leonard Floyd and, once the new league year begins, linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey is also expected to be on the move, and multiple teams have called to gauge the 28-year-old’s market. On the offensive side of the ball, 2022 free agent addition Allen Robinson has been given permission to seek a trade, meaning the wideout’s tenure with the Rams could be cut far shorter than many would have expected one year ago. Not all notable names will be dealt away in the near future, however.

In addition to Stafford, Snead named receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive tackle Aaron Donald as “weight-bearing walls” who will be counted on during this transitional phase for the franchise. All three players were signed to new, lucrative deals last offseason, meaning Los Angeles would incur major dead cap charges in the next few years if they were to trade or release them. Snead acknowledged, though, that he has fielded trade calls on nine different players ahead of an offseason in which more significant roster turnover can be expected.

“We’re trying to assess situations, figure out how to get under the cap [and] what’s the best way to do that,” he added, via ESPN’s Sarah Barshop“We’ve had calls on a lot of our players. Probably other places trying to figure out what are we doing big picture and things like that. It’s been a busy off season discussing players.”

The Rams are currently $9.1MM over the cap, and like all other teams must get under the cap ceiling by Wednesday. Part of the process of putting themselves in a better financial situation could indicate a multi-year rebuild seeing Stafford, Donald and Kupp departing, but such an approach is unlikely at this point.