Super Bowl MVP Kupp won’t stay home while Rams talk contract

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cooper Kupp led the NFL in every major receiving category and won the Super Bowl MVP award last year.

Anybody would deserve a raise after such a spectacular season, and the defending champion Los Angeles Rams say they want to give it to their star receiver.

But Kupp still showed up this week for the first voluntary workouts of the Rams’ truncated offseason. He isn’t about to stay home out of financial displeasure or football exhaustion while the rest of the Rams are getting to work on chasing their second ring.

“I think it’s important to be here, be around the guys and be around this team,” Kupp said Tuesday. “The goal at the end of the day is to win a world title. Whatever is going to get us in a place where we can go and compete for another world title, to put us in a better position where we can be a better football team, that’s the goal. I think the best thing I can do is to be to be a part of that, as this thing gets implemented and starts to grow.”

The NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year ended his storybook season with two touchdown receptions in the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium, including the go-ahead score with 1:25 to play. Kupp says he got in plenty of celebration time during the past two months, but he was already looking forward to getting back to work.

And Kupp says he doesn’t need to do it with a new contract in place of the three-year, $48 million extension he signed in September 2020. He doesn’t judge the handful of receivers who are staying away from voluntary workouts across the league as they work on their new deals, but Kupp is still focused on the day-to-day fun of football with his teammates more than the business aspects.

Kupp also admitted he relishes the chance for the strategy meetings that comprise most of the Rams’ work this month — and he also likes a little playful offseason fun with coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead.

“Some guys do different approaches,” Kupp said. “I’m not saying one approach is better than another, but I think being able to be here, being able to hide Sean’s hair gel in the morning, little nuisance-type things like hide Les’ bike. You can do some stuff that’s just kind of bothersome.”

Kupp knows discussions about a new contract will occur, although McVay offered no concrete update on any talks Tuesday.

“I think we’ll be able to figure out what is a good way to accommodate both sides,” McVay said.

The Rams are also talking to All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald about a new contract, and Snead already inked quarterback Matthew Stafford to a new four-year extension. Stafford acknowledged that he didn’t try to squeeze every penny out of the Rams in his new deal because he loves his situation and wants Los Angeles to be able to add pieces around him.

Kupp clearly feels much the same way about his own future.

Kupp has fallen far down the list of the NFL’s highest-paid receivers with new deals for Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Christian Kirk and Stefon Diggs. But when asked if he felt he needed to be the NFL’s highest-paid receiver after one of the most spectacular campaigns in NFL history, Kupp demurred.

“I don’t think that’s really kind of the approach that I take,” Kupp said. “I think there’s definitely a place where you want to be. There’s a place that I think you feel is fair, and a place both for me and this organization. I want to be there. I’m not trying to beat anybody. I’m not trying to compare myself to anyone else. It’s more of just being in a place that’s just right for both sides.”


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