Since signing with the Rams in 2017, Robert Woods and his production have ranked among some of the NFL’s elite receivers.
But he has not been paid like one.
Based on comments Thursday from Woods and coach Sean McVay, that situation could change before the Rams play the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Last week, the Rams gave receiver Cooper Kupp a three-year contract extension that could be worth as much as $48 million.
McVay and Woods indicated that Woods was up next. And that a deal was imminent.
“Robert and Cooper have been pillars of what we’ve done the last few years,” McVay told reporters during a videoconference before practice. “And great to get Cooper under contract, so happy for him.
“And you can expect to see something similar down the line here very shortly, we’re working towards for Robert.”
After Kupp got his extension, Woods said McVay put his arm around him and reassured him that his deal would be taken care of this week.
Does Woods anticipate agreeing to terms before Sunday’s game?
“I hope so,” he told reporters after practice. “I pray so. That’s the goal.”
Woods, 28, has outperformed the five-year, $34-million contract he signed with the Rams three years ago. The team made some adjustments before last season, and Woods is scheduled to earn about $8.2 million this season and $10.2 million in 2021, according to Overthecap.com. But that still leaves underpaid a player who caught 90 passes in 2019, and six in last Sunday’s 20-17 season-opening victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons has the highest salary-cap number for a receiver this season at $20.4 million. Woods ranks 28th.
Asked if there was a deadline for a new deal, Woods said, “just urgent,” adding that he would like to see it done as soon as possible. He noted his production and importance to the Rams’ offense.
“Just being able to do my job at an elite level,” he said, “and just trying to have the contract to say so as well.”
Woods, who starred at Gardena Serra High and USC, has been one of the Rams’ top players since signing with the Rams after four seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
In 2017, McVay’s first season, Woods sat out three games because of injuries and another as starters were rested for the playoffs but he still caught 56 passes. In 2018, Woods caught 86 passes and eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving for the first time as the Rams advanced to the Super Bowl.
Last season, Woods caught 90 passes and recorded a second consecutive 1,000-yard season.
Last Sunday against the Cowboys, Woods had 105 yards receiving, including 60 on three catches during the Rams’ opening touchdown drive.
“You find yourself in an elite situation where you’re finally able to do what you’re capable of — and so now it’s time to get paid what I’m capable of being paid,” he said.
Woods said he has been involved in the process with his agent, and that he keeps abreast of contracts and comparisons.
“But I do know when to turn off and focus on the game, focus on my job and getting the job done like I did last week,” he said.
The Rams gave quarterback Jared Goff a $134-million contract before last season. They released running back Todd Gurley and traded receiver Brandin Cooks during the offseason to clear salary-cap space for the $105-million deal they gave cornerback Jalen Ramsey last week. Then they signed Kupp.
Woods said that the NFL was “a billion-dollar industry,” and that “there is always money,” in the way that teams can structure and restructure deals.
He joked that the Denver Nuggets, also owned by Rams owner Stan Kroenke, were doing well.
“There’s going to be money somewhere,” he said.
Woods intimated that having the security in place before Sunday would be a relief.
“Really just try to go out execute what I do on the field and let my play do the talking for me, which it has,” Woods said. “Just trying to get it done and out of the way and focus on the season.”
Tight end Gerald Everett (back) was limited, according to the Rams injury report. Offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth returned after a scheduled rest day. ... Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox were full participants after not practicing Wednesday for non-injury related reasons, per the Eagles injury report. Running back Miles Sanders (hamstring) and offensive tackle Jason Peters (knee) were full participants. Offensive tackle Lane Johnson (ankle), defensive end Brandon Graham (concussion) and linebacker Javon Hargrave (chest/hamstring) were limited.