Matthew Stafford’s presence helped Rams catch Allen Robinson
Matthew Stafford isn’t ready to go yet.
New addition Allen Robinson has joined a Rams receiving corps that now includes Robinson, Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson – with recovering free agent Odell Beckham Jr. apparently still considering a decision on where to go where he will play in 2022.
Stafford declined Wednesday to comment on whether it was the best in the NFL.
“It looks pretty good on paper,” the Rams quarterback said during a video conference call with reporters. “It’s up to us to go out there and bring it to life.”
That’s mostly on Stafford, who last week signed a four-year extension that could be worth up to $160 million, with $135 million guaranteed.
Stafford was one of the main reasons Robinson signed with the Super Bowl champion Rams, and he was also a big factor in the decisions of offensive tackle Joe Noteboom and center Brian Allen to re-sign with the Rams. ‘team.
“I appreciate how they feel about me,” Stafford said, “and the best thing I can say is the feeling is mutual.”
Highlights from each of the player videoconferences:
It sometimes pays – in championships – to take less: Tom Brady won six Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots and another with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while playing on deals below his market value.
And the quarterback market has exploded recently. See: Aaron Rodgers Extensions and Deshaun Watson Contracts.
Now, $135 million is nothing to throw away, even for billionaire owner Stan Kroenke, but after leading the Rams to victory in Super Bowl LVI, Stafford was well positioned to break the bank. Stafford, however, earned a fortune during his 13-year career — mostly playing for bad Detroit Lions teams — and recognized the value of making room for the Rams to surround him with talent.
“I was just trying to find something that was good for both parties,” he said, “and we were able to keep adding players, pieces around me and still take care of everything you want to take care of.”
He came for the culture – and these passes: Robinson is an eight-year veteran and three-time 1,000-yard receiver.
How could he not be attracted to playing for the defending Super Bowl champion? In Coach Sean McVay’s attack? With Stafford issuing passes?
“It was on every level that, as a veteran, that’s the kind of team you want to get into,” Robinson said, adding, “With them coming out of a Super Bowl and can make a another Super Bowl run…that’s why I’m here.
Among other attributes, the 6-foot-2 Robinson is considered an elite receiver, a contested receiver, a player capable of making plays inside the 20-yard line.
“His ability to come up and catch guys, around guys, whatever – that’s really special,” Stafford said. “But at the same time, for a guy his size, I think he does a great job of separating as well. … You get the best of both worlds.”
So, Robinson is looking forward to starting off-season training with Stafford in April.
“Just looking at Matt’s career from afar, seeing all the receivers he’s played with and all the things he’s been able to help his receiver accomplish…for me, I can kind of walk into that and establish this rapport, building this relationship, that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.
Ready for a first role: Noteboom worked as an understudy to retired left tackle Andrew Whitworth for four seasons. From now on, he will be counted on to protect Stafford’s blind side full-time.
Watching Whitworth prepared him for the role, Noteboom said.
“Being behind him, there’s no better situation in the league,” Noteboom said. “Sixteen-year veteran, Walter Payton man of the year. I mean, to step into his role – I had a plan for that for four years and watched his every move on and off the pitch.
“That’s what gives me confidence.”
Center of interest: The prospect of free agency was “definitely a little more stressful than I thought it would be,” Allen said.
The Rams, and the chance to continue playing in McVay’s system with Stafford and his familiar teammates, was a comfortable fit.
“I didn’t want to go somewhere and be in a situation where I didn’t have someone like Matt to work with,” Allen said, adding, “It was on my mind – that would be a tough person to do. know you were leaving.
“So really excited to be back with him and to continue to grow our relationship and improve together.”