Monday December 4, 2023

The Rams’ Unique Approach to Building a Champion

  • The Rams flashy 2021 acquisitions included Matthew Stafford, Odell Beckham Jr., Von Miller, and Eric Weddle.
  • But homegrown players Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald ended up making all the difference.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports/Design: John Regula
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The Rams made a series of flashy 2021 acquisitions — QB Matthew Stafford, WR Odell Beckham Jr., LB Von Miller, and S Eric Weddle — and reaching the Super Bowl vindicated those moves.

But their two homegrown players were the difference-makers in winning the franchise’s second Lombardi Trophy.

Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald — the best defensive player on the field — were both drafted by the Rams and retained through sensible contracts.

  • Kupp caught a game-high eight passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns — including the game-winner on the final drive.
  • His three-year, $48 million contract has only the 16th-highest total value among wide receivers; he is scheduled to be a free agent in 2024.
  • Donald recorded two sacks and three QB hits — including one on the fourth-down incompletion that sealed the win.
  • The three-time DPOY’s six-year, $135 million deal was the most lucrative for a defensive player ever at time of signing — but it’s currently only fifth by average annual value ($22.5M).

The Rams could be busy this offseason building a repeat winner: Beckham and Miller will both be unrestricted free agents, while Weddle and OT Andrew Whitworth are retiring.

Sean McVay — now the youngest Super-Bowl-winning head coach (36) ever — will still have a core group, including Robert Woods, whom Beckham replaced and who won’t be an FA until 2026.

One day since the dust settled, L.A. is the third-favorite (+1000*) behind Kansas City (+750*) and Buffalo (750*) for next year’s Super Bowl.

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