David Edwards

Cooper Kupp To Undergo Surgery; Rams Lose Two More O-Linemen

NOVEMBER 20: Kupp is expected to miss six to eight weeks, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. As we are presently in Week 11 of the season, that timeframe means that, if the 3-6 Rams cannot climb back into the postseason race, Kupp will be shelved for the remainder of the year.

NOVEMBER 15: Cooper Kupp avoided missing any time after his Week 8 ankle injury, but his latest issue will force an extended absence. The All-Pro wide receiver is heading to IR, Sean McVay said Tuesday.

The Rams’ top weapon will undergo surgery to repair his high ankle sprain Wednesday. Kupp must miss at least four games. With the Rams having already had their bye week, the reigning Offensive Player of the Year will be out until at least Week 14. This will be Kupp’s longest absence since his 2018 ACL tear.

While that Rams team withstood Kupp’s knee malady and trekked to Super Bowl LIII, this edition has been Kupp-dependent throughout the season. Kupp’s 812 receiving yards are more than double the Rams’ second-leading pass catcher. The defending champions have neither been able to run consistently nor have they found UFA addition Allen Robinson as reliable as the likes of Robert Woods or Brandin Cooks, the since-traded receivers who helped the Rams’ 2018 team push past Kupp’s setback. Given a three-year, $46.5MM deal with $30MM fully guaranteed, Robinson has 29 receptions for 292 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Kupp, 29, has also become a different player since his previous injury. The former Division I-FCS prospect posted one of the all-time great receiving seasons in 2021, catching 145 passes for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns. He topped that triple crown regular season with 478 playoff yards. Only Larry Fitzgerald (546 in 2008) has accumulated more in one postseason. Kupp’s 2,425 cumulative receiving yards last season shattered an NFL record, and the Super Bowl LVI MVP parlayed that staggering leap into top-five receiver money.

The Rams tore up both Kupp and Aaron Donald‘s deals this offseason, despite each having more than one season remaining. Kupp’s $26.7MM-per-year deal runs through 2026. The contract included $35MM fully guaranteed, but an additional $35MM will shift from an injury guarantee to a full guarantee in March 2023. While Kupp returning late in the season is not out of the question, the 3-6 Rams going through one of the worst Super Bowl title defenses in NFL history may prompt the team to be cautious and shut him down.

Additionally, the Rams encountered more injury trouble on their offensive line. Two of their latest batch of O-line starters — Alaric Jackson and Chandler Brewer — will be shut down. Jackson, who had worked at guard and left tackle this season, has a blood clot issue that will end his season. Brewer suffered an MCL sprain that, based on the Rams’ IR situation, will likely end his 2022 campaign. Jackson also missed Week 10 with a knee injury, but this blood clot issue — which will require blood thinner medication — has obviously become his central concern.

A former UDFA out of Iowa, Jackson has been a valuable contributor for a battered Rams front this season. After playing 61 offensive snaps as a rookie — for a much healthier Rams team — Jackson has started six games in his second NFL campaign. Pro Football Focus rates Jackson, who was not a Week 1 starter, just outside the top 40 among guards. He has seen time filling in for Joseph Noteboom at left tackle as well.

One of the many next men up for the Rams, Brewer — a UDFA out of Middle Tennessee State — has started the past two games at right guard. Brewer will undergo knee surgery, per McVay, likely ending his season.

The Rams have burned six of their eight injury activations already. The team now has Kupp, veteran left guard David Edwards and safety Jordan Fuller in the IR-return mix. McVay said Tuesday the Rams were hopeful to have Edwards, who has missed extensive time with a concussion, back this year. An Edwards return would leave just one injury activation available for the champs, who used two in Week 8 (Van Jefferson, Troy Hill) and three in Week 10 (guard Coleman Shelton, running back Kyren Williams, safety Quentin Lake), the rest of the way.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/16/22

Today’s minor transactions:

Atlanta Falcons

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tennessee Titans

Rams Place G David Edwards On IR

The Rams’ offensive line continues to struggle, with availability issues plaguing the defending champions up front. They will lose another starter for an extended stretch.

Left guard David Edwards is now on injured reserve. The fourth-year veteran landed in concussion protocol ahead of the Rams’ Week 4 game against the 49ers, missing that contest. After returning against the Cowboys on Sunday, Edwards left the game early and returned to the protocol. He will now miss at least four games.

Concussions are obviously concerning on every level, but a player being forced to miss five games because of one represents less explored territory. This news comes after the Patriots placed Brian Hoyer on IR after his entrance into concussion protocol. The NFL has enhanced its protocols in light of the Tua Tagovailoa saga.

Edwards, who is in a contract year, has been a Rams starter since his rookie season. A former fifth-round pick out of Wisconsin, Edwards has started 45 games as a pro. He started all 21 Rams contests last season and, after the team lost Austin Corbett in free agency, entered this season as a key piece for a retooling Rams O-line that lost left tackle Andrew Whitworth to retirement.

The Rams have dealt with rampant issues on their interior O-line, losing both starters and backups to injuries early this season. These issues have led to Matthew Stafford taking an NFL-most 21 sacks and the Rams’ run game scuffling during a 2-3 start.

Between third-round rookie Logan Bruss‘ ACL and MCL tears during training camp and this Edwards development, the Rams placed two other interior O-linemen — guard/center Coleman Shelton and backup guard Tremayne Anchrum — on the injured list. Center Brian Allen has been out since suffering a knee injury in Week 1. Allen, however, has remained on Los Angeles’ active roster. Shelton and Allen are expected to return this season. Bobby Evans, chosen two rounds ahead of Edwards in the 2019 draft, replaced him in Week 4. He will likely get the call against the Panthers this week.

To replace Edwards on their 53-man roster, the Rams promoted veteran Matt Skura. The former Ravens and Giants blocker makes for an interesting addition. He has made 65 career starts since 2017. The Ravens used Skura as a four-year starter, at center and guard, but did not retain him as a 2021 free agent. The Dolphins signed Skura to a one-year, $1.75MM deal but cut him before last season began. Skura wound up with the Giants and made 14 starts for a depleted New York unit. He joins Oday Aboushi (47 career starts) as veteran backup options for the Rams. Aboushi has played only on special teams for the Rams this season.

Rams G David Edwards In Concussion Protocol

The Rams will be without starting left guard David Edwards for Monday’s matchup against the division-rival 49ers. As Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic reports, Edwards told head coach Sean McVay that he was feeling “foggy,” and he entered the concussion protocol on Saturday morning (Twitter link).

Given the situation surrounding Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, which prompted the league and union to amend the concussion protocols, the way in which NFL teams handle brain injuries will be even more scrutinized in the near-term. McVay, though, was clear that the Tagovailoa matter had no impact on Edwards’ treatment.

“[I]t was great for [Edwards] to be able to kind of communicate,” McVay said (via Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com). “We took the right steps, especially, with the [Tagovailoa] situation that occurred on Thursday. But really just in general, regardless of whether or not that happened with [Tagovailoa], [it’s] something we take very serious and I appreciate him handling it the right way.”

Edwards, a 2019 fifth-rounder, spent more time at right guard than left in his rookie campaign, but he has settled in as the club’s starting LG over the past several seasons. He received above-average marks from Pro Football Focus in both the 2020 and 2021 campaigns, and a repeat performance in 2022, his platform year, could set him up for a multi-year extension from the Rams or a lucrative free agent contract in 2023.

This continues a disturbing trend along the Rams’ O-line. Starting center Brian Allen, who underwent a knee procedure following Los Angeles’ season-opening loss to the Bills, will also miss the San Francisco game — his third straight absence — while both Tremayne Anchrum and third-round rookie Logan Bruss are out for the season.

Per Rodrgiue, Bobby Evans will fill in at LG in Edwards’ stead (Twitter link). Evans was selected several rounds before Edwards in 2019, and while he started seven games in his first professional season, he has started only one contest since.

Rams Wrap Entire Draft Class

And just like that, the Rams’ entire draft class has been signed. After inking three of their rookies on Friday morning, the Rams following up by signing third-round running back Darrell Henderson, third-round cornerback David Long, third-round tackle Bobby Evans, fourth-round defensive tackle Greg Gaines, and fifth-round tackle David Edwards

Second-round safety Taylor Rapp was the highest-selected player in the Rams’ rookie class, but most of the attention is on Henderson, who rushed for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 214 carries last year. His 8.9 yards per rush was no fluke, as he posted the exact same average as a sophomore in 2017. Henderson could see a decent amount of work behind star Todd Gurley and he’ll really be in the limelight if Gurley’s knee issues remerge in 2019.

Here’s the full rundown of the Rams’ draft class: