American Football

Contract Conundrums: Should Rams ask Cooper Kupp to take pay cut?


NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Cooper Kupp could take a page out of Andrew Whitworth’s playbook

In January, Les Snead spoke with the media about how the Los Angeles Rams are facing a remodel situation after their attempt to “run it back” failed. Snead was sure to emphasize that the Rams remodel approach was not a rebuild, but that they would have to pay off some debt that they racked up over the last few seasons in pursuit of winning a Lombardi Trophy.

Over the next month and a half, Les Snead and Tony Pastoors will spearhead the Rams front office approach in finding the best way to remodel the roster despite restrictions in cap space and no first round pick in this year’s draft.

The best way for the Rams to remodel their roster will be to find cap saving moves through the release, trade, and restructuring of contracts. Some players may require some advanced methodology to conserve cap space, while others may be more straightforward.

The first player to navigate this offseason is…

Cooper Kupp, WR

In 2023, Kupp will earn a base salary of $15,000,000 and a roster bonus of $5,000,000, while carrying a cap hit of $27,800,000.

Remaining contract: Three years, $80.1 million

Cooper Kupp currently has the Rams highest cap number entering the 2023 season. The Rams 29 year old wide receiver received a new contract last offseason after taking the NFL world by storm with a Triple Crown campaign, winning the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year award, and taking home Super Bowl LVI MVP honors. At the time though, Kupp still had two years remaining on his original deal that he signed in 2020. LA has not been shy in handing out early contracts to their stars, but Kupp’s seemed a little premature considering he wasn’t set to hit free agency until the 2024 offseason. While I believe Kupp holds tremendous value for the Rams team, it may be time for Kupp to repay the favor to Los Angeles. I personally feel that Kupp should follow in the steps of Andrew Whitworth who often financially helped the Rams find cap space when the team was in financial constraints. Whitworth took a pay cut or two during his five years with LA.

However, convincing NFL players to take pay cuts isn’t an easy task. The most likely outcome for Kupp is a restructure that would save the Rams $14.19 million this year. Restructures come with a future cost though, those savings would be evenly distributed over the final three years of Kupp’s contract. The decision to restructure would come with the consequence that more dead money could be getting attached to Kupp’s contract in his age 31, 32, and 33 seasons.

But this may be the one decision that Les Snead is willing to make. Kupp’s player type should allow him to play into his mid-30s. Kupp does not rely on top line speed or acceleration, his game is about footwork and space recognition. His talent should age well with Los Angeles and should remain in a Rams uniform for a few more years.

Decision: Restructure

You must be logged in to post a comment Login