The Los Angeles Rams have gotten a steal of a deal with Robert Woods. The veteran wide receiver has put up consecutive 1,000-plus-yard seasons while, at most, having an $8.2 million salary-cap number since joining the team on a five-year, $34 million contract.
Woods’ deal will expire after the 2021 season, which gives the Rams time to prioritize other key players who will be entering a contract year. Fellow receivers Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds and cornerback Jalen Ramsey are playing out the final season of their rookie deals along with tight end Gerald Everett and safety John Johnson. Los Angeles will have to perform some cap gymnastics to appease Kupp and Ramsey, among others, while trying to maintain its depth across the roster. Woods also needs to be a priority and he’ll call for a bit more if he continues his upward trend.
Both parties have already had preliminary discussions, Woods said at the beginning of August; he’s hoping to play out his career in Los Angeles but won’t budge on his value. And he shouldn’t with what he’s brought to the Rams, who are still reeling from the high of a Super Bowl appearance and then the low of a 9-7 playoff-less season that followed.
Woods is going to make sure he cements his value this season, but what could his next contract look like? His current market value is a three-year deal priced at $36.2 million. It’s comparable to Golden Tate, Emmanuel Sanders, DeSean Jackson, and Cole Beasley’s contracts; Tate leads this group with a four-year, $37.5 million deal. Woods’ production, almost across the board, is better than all four receivers. Depending on what Sanders can do with the New Orleans Saints, Woods has the most upside among this group.
After Woods was selected in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, he had a few up-and-down seasons while playing in a bulk of the team’s snaps. In 2016, his production improved and he got increasingly better across the next two seasons before joining the Rams in 2017. Woods totaled just over 780 yards that season before his breakout year to follow. His deal was restructured following the Super Bowl season, but he was still seen as underpaid amongst his peers. Last season, Woods finished with 1,134 yards and two touchdowns while leading all receivers with 577 yards after the catch.
“You want to go in and get paid for what you’re worth—I think everyone feels that way,” he recently told reporters. “I’ve been working here for the Rams and want to be here for the rest of my career, keep playing here in L.A., home stadium.
“I want to get the job done and be here long-term.”
Woods’ current contract is ranked 38th among all receivers; Spotrac’s aforementioned projection would bump him up to 16th. For comparison, Kupp’s current four-year, $3.8 million contract ranks 103rd—this is almost sickening when looking at what Kupp also brings to the Rams—and he’s projected to make around $67.2 million on his new deal. This would skyrocket him to No. 7 among receivers.
It would be very unwise to break up the Woods-Kupp duo. While the two have both missed time—Woods sat out a few weeks during the 2017 season with a shoulder injury and Kupp’s 2018 ended prematurely after an ACL injury—they have been the difference makers in this offense when healthy. Los Angeles should be doing whatever it can do to keep both receivers with Woods meeting the $36-37 million mark.
- Dec 01, 2022
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