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Rams considering shutting down star players for rest of season

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Although Kupp and Stafford have missed stretches of seasons earlier than, Donald has been one of the league’s most sturdy players.

The seven-time All-Pro has by no means missed a recreation on account of damage; his solely absences (two) got here as a result of of a 2017 holdout. 

Over the course of his second Rams contract, Donald grew to become one of the best defenders in NFL historical past. He derailed the Bengals’ ultimate drive in Super Bowl LVI and will nicely have received MVP acclaim have been ballots not required to be turned in earlier than that drive.

Donald, 31, threatened retirement and despatched the Rams a letter — amid contract negotiations — informing them of his intentions to walk away. The Rams got here again to the desk with an unprecedented provide — a straight increase with no new years added, making Donald the NFL’s highest-paid defender again. 

Donald’s $31.6M-per-year common dwarfs the rest of the D-tackle market; no different inside D-lineman makes greater than $21M each year. 

That deal has not began off nicely for the Rams, who’ve seen their run of good well being in recent times deteriorate into a multitude that has this group on target to be the worst defending Super Bowl champion in league historical past.

Donald’s third Rams pact runs via 2024; he’s set to depend $26M in opposition to Los Angeles’ cap subsequent 12 months. That cash is assured, although Donald’s 2024 cash is not. 

This season, Donald’s manufacturing has dipped a bit. The ninth-year defender has 5 sacks and 11 quarterback hits. While he nonetheless would have had time to maneuver towards his seventh double-digit sack season, this damage will most likely nix such an effort.

Kupp underwent ankle surgical procedure and is expected to miss at least the next four games. Considering that timetable and the Rams’ 3-8 report, it appears unlikely the All-Pro wideout will play once more this 12 months. 

Stafford has spent the previous two weeks in concussion protocol, with a neck issue leading him back there after he left the Rams’ Week 11 loss to the Saints early. 

Conflicting stories surfaced about Stafford returning this season, however the Rams are unsurprisingly considering punting on the rest of the veteran quarterback’s 14th season and regrouping in 2023. Stafford’s new deal runs via 2026.

The Rams squandered key seasons from their well-paid trio. Donald will flip 32 in May; Stafford will probably be 35 in February. Kupp is youthful, however he’ll hit 30 in June. 

The group, which additionally positioned Allen Robinson on IR on Tuesday because of a season-ending foot injury, may even see its skeleton crew skinny additional within the weeks forward. 

Although the 1982 49ers completed 3-6, a strike-shortened season impacted their first title protection, no defending Super Bowl champion has completed with fewer than six wins in a non-strike-shortened marketing campaign; if the Rams are to be with out Donald and Stafford the rest of the way in which, they may have a tough time making it to 6-11. 

The Lions maintain the Rams’ 2023 first-round decide.


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