Yahoo Sports' Liz Loza, Shalise Manza Young and Charles Robinson discuss how the Rams built their Super Bowl winning team differently. The Rams have not made a first round pick since 2016, and don't own a first round pick until 2024. Instead, they traded picks for Matthew Stafford and Von Miller, and signed Odell Beckham Jr. and it worked. However, it was homegrown wide receiver Cooper Kupp that delivered when it meant the most. Did Kupp just cap off the greatest season we've ever seen from a wide receiver with the Super Bowl MVP Award? Can the Rams keep this roster together to run it back next season? Or will the price tag for their superstar talent require a makeover?
LIZ LOZA: Welcome into a joyous SoFi Stadium, where for the second year in a row, a team has won the Super Bowl at their home stadium. This year it's the Los Angeles Rams who bested the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 . I'm Liz Loza with Charles Robinson and Shalise Manza Young. Shalise, let's talk about the way the Rams unabashedly built this team for a very narrow, some might say, window.
SHALISE MANZA YOUNG: They really did. And obviously, it paid off. We heard for weeks and months that they were all in and they pushed all their chips to the table, and it actually paid off. They went and got Matthew Stafford. I don't think they pick in the first round until 2024, but who needs first round picks?
LIZ LOZA: No, not with this squad, Von Miller, obviously a very important addition with two sacks this evening. OBJ exited the game early, but still got his early on. So Charles, who does need draft picks when you're the Los Angeles Rams?
CHARLES ROBINSON: Well, they don't. They've done a really good job. Their personnel has been able to find talent in later rounds. They take a vacation early in drafts. And they say, hey, this is what we pay you for-- go find talent that we don't necessarily have to pay, because we're so top heavy and we have this multitude of other players.
But another thing too about how they were built that maybe people don't talk about enough-- remember, they dumped Jared Goff's contract, they dumped Todd Gurley's contract. These were two of the worst contracts in the league, and they dumped them essentially in back to back years. To be able to accomplish that, flip the team, and then not only flip it by picking up what were cheap-ish stars-- Von Miller, the Denver Broncos paid part of Von Miller's salary for him to come out here and win a Super Bowl. The Cleveland Browns paid part of Odell Beckham Jr's salary for him to come out here and win a Super Bowl. Being able to pick up very useful players, top caliber players, at cheap prices, that gets you ahead in the NFL.
LIZ LOZA: So it was Von Miller, OBJ, and Matt Stafford who put this team over the hump. But Cooper Kupp homegrown talent capped off maybe the best wide receiver year in NFL history.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Well, I think he probably had the best single statistical season, and I think, capping it off with a Super Bowl, you can even say, in terms of success, in history-- 2,425 yards in 21 games, 22 touchdown passes, AP All-Pro, AP Offensive Player the Year, he got an MVP vote, Super Bowl MVP. I don't think there's any question when you look at the totality of that. It's going to be hard for any wide receiver to top that, even with the 17th game. But imagine that-- you didn't just go 17 games, you went 17 and then a full 4-1--
SHALISE MANZA YOUNG: And then a full 4, yeah.
CHARLES ROBINSON: --in the playoffs, yeah. And by the way, they planned for him tonight, they had to stop him tonight, OBJ went out. And one of the things that Sean McVay said was, you could see them immediately-- as soon as OBJ was out, it was all completely sucked on to Cooper Kupp, and still, they overcame it.
SHALISE MANZA YOUNG: Yeah, the Bengals cornerbacks talked after the game about how, as soon as Odell went out, they put a lot more focus on Cooper Kupp and they just weren't able, especially in that last drive-- they moved him to the outside, instead he was playing more in the slot before OBJ got hurt, moved him to the outside and they still just couldn't find an answer for him. And going up tempo on that last drive, one of the Bengals players said, it rattled us.
LIZ LOZA: Oh, that's an interesting admission. I'm going to go back to you to cap it off, because we started talking about the way this team was built. There are some pretty hefty salaries on the defensive side of the ball. Do you think this team can try to repeat with its current personnel?
SHALISE MANZA YOUNG: You can always try. But eventually, all those bills come due. There was rumors or reports before the game that, if they won, Aaron Donald might retire. Charles might have some information on that, but who knows if that's legitimate or if it's some kind of ploy.
But this is what happens. Every team is different from year to year. The Buccaneers tried it, it was amazing that they were able to bring, I think it was, all 22 starters back this year, but that's exceedingly rare. And especially when you have so much money wrapped up in so few players as the Rams do, it's almost impossible to sustain that.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, look, financially there's going to be a lot of work to do here. Aaron Donald, he's going to retire to think about his contract, that's what he's going to retire to. He's going to retire to the negotiating table and say, the best defenders in the game are making $27 million per year right now, I'm on a $20 million per year clip, and I should probably be making 20% more than the highest paid defensive player right now. He should be a $30 million defender. That's going to be a headline going into this off season, that's, I think, where this retirement talk comes from.
I liken this to a college party-- you stay up all night, you do a lot of things you're probably going to regret, and then you deal with it the next day. That's what this team is going to have to do. Ultimately, they're going to have to build it all into this window, and down the line, pay the price.
SHALISE MANZA YOUNG: And there was even-- Sean McVay floated the idea he's apparently getting married this summer, and this is such an all encompassing thing for me, I'm so passionate about it, but I want to be with my family.
LIZ LOZA: He's giving himself some wiggle room.
SHALISE MANZA YOUNG: Right, at 36 years old, are you going to retire? Probably not.
LIZ LOZA: The Rams organization certainly has an expensive year coming up, but there's no denying that today for Super Bowl LVI, it is a very rich moment for the Los Angeles Rams.