Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury says he is "praying" quarterback Kyler Murray will have signed his new contract before training camp begins next month.

Earlier in the offseason, Murray removed references to the Cardinals on his Instagram account before his agent Erik Burkhardt issued a statement calling for the QB, who is entering his fourth NFL campaign, to be shown "a real commitment" by the franchise.

There have been reports suggesting Murray will not attend training camp under his current deal, which runs through the 2023 season, as he seeks a lucrative extension.

Kingsbury was asked about his QB's contract status when he faced reporters after the first day of Arizona's minicamp, which Murray has reported for.

"I'm praying before training camp," Kingsbury said about when the contract could be resolved.

"I just want him there day one of training camp. Personally - I'm being selfish here – I would love for him to be there the first day.

"I'm not sure [if he will report to training camp without a new deal] - that would be a Kyler question."

"We're about to make him, I'm sure, the highest-paid player in this franchise's history and so he understands what comes with that," added Kingsbury, per ESPN.

"The guys know what he can be at his best, and anytime we can get the whole band out there, things pick up.

"He is the leader of this franchise. [General Manager] Steve [Keim], Michael [Bidwill], myself, we understand what he can be and where we want to take this thing with him as our leader. 

"It will be great for this organisation when this is wrapped up."

In the 2021 season, Murray threw for 3,787 yards with 24 touchdown passes and added five rushing TDs, while he had the second-highest pass completion rate in the NFL of 69.2 per cent.

Murray was the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and an 11-6 record last season was the Cardinals' best for six years.

They lost to divisional rivals the Los Angeles Rams, who went on to win the Super Bowl, in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson repeated that he is innocent of the inappropriate sexual conduct alleged in the now 24 lawsuits against him when speaking publicly for the first time in nearly three months.

Despite the increasing number of civil suits against him, including two more filed within the last 15 days, Watson has insisted he is innocent.

Watson is accused of sexual assault and harassment by over two dozen massage therapists who visited his home for private sessions while he played for the Houston Texans.

Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women suing Watson, said on Monday that he plans to file two more lawsuits against the embattled quarterback.

"I never assaulted anyone," Watson told reporters on Tuesday following practice at Browns mini-camp. "I never harassed anyone, or I never disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything. I just want to clear my name.

"I've been honest and I've been truthful about my stance. I never forced on anyone and I never assaulted anyone. That's what I've been saying since the beginning and I'll continue to do that until all the facts come out."

Last week, the New York Times reported that Watson hired at least 66 different women for private massages over the course of 17 months, including all 24 plaintiffs.

Despite Watson’s legal troubles, the Browns convinced him to drop his no-trade clause and gave him a fully guaranteed five-year, $230million contract after acquiring him this off-season.

The 26-year-old quarterback had criminal complaints dropped in two Texas counties, but both he and the Browns continue to face public backlash.

Watson’s short-term future on the field hangs in the balance as the NFL conducts its own investigation into whether he has violated the league’s code of conduct. Commissioner Roger Goodell said during spring meetings that the investigation was nearing an end but would not name a target date.

"I can't control that," Watson said. "I did everything they asked me to do. I answered every question truthfully that the NFL asked me.

"That's all I can do, is be honest and tell them exactly what happened. They have a job, and so I have to respect that. And that's what we want to do is cooperate. They have to make a decision that's best for the league."

A week after calling the United States Capitol insurrection a 'dust-up,' Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio apologised to his team on Tuesday before they opened their three-day mandatory minicamp. 

Commanders coach Ron Rivera said the apology was "well-received" and Del Rio met individually with several players to further address his comments. 

"Jack spoke to the team this morning during the team meeting and was very open and contrite and apologised and was open to questions," Rivera said.

"He said, 'Guys, if you have any questions come see me and let's talk about that.' It was good. I'm about reconciliation." 

Del Rio created a stir last week when he compared on social media the protests following the police killing of George Floyd and the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

The 59-year-old Del Rio, who had regularly posted conservative opinions to his Twitter account, then defended his tweet when asked about it following an offseason practice. 

''People's livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem,'' Del Rio said last Wednesday.

''And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we're going to make that a major deal. I just think it's kind of two standards.'' 

Rivera fined Del Rio $100,000 last week, and said Tuesday the fine was issued because the comments created a distraction for the team. 

"This is not about the fact he exercised his right to free speech," Rivera said. "This is about what impacted this football team. I believe in the First Amendment very strongly. 

"It's a very serious question and topic, but at the end of the day, it did impact us. That's why I did what I did." 

Del Rio also apologised in a written statement last week despite also saying he stood by what he said. 

The Washington Commanders open their three-day minicamp on Tuesday but Terry McLaurin is not planning on attending, according to reports.

The fourth-year wide receiver is seeking a contract extension as he moves into the final year of his rookie deal and will not report to camp as the two sides remain far apart on negotiations, according to ESPN.

If he were to miss all three days, McLaurin - who is slated to make $2.79million in 2022 - would be fined more than $95,000. He would also miss out on practice time with new Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz.

Despite playing with several mediocre starting quarterbacks over the last three seasons in Taylor Heinicke, Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins Junior and Case Keenum, McLaurin has put up stellar numbers.

A third-round pick in 2019, McLaurin has led the team in receptions and receiving yards each of the last three years, and is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Since 2019, his 3,090 receiving yards rank 14th in the NFL, while his average of 13.9 yards per catch ranks 11th among the 61 players with at least 150 receptions.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said he would still be leading the team if Tom Brady did not decide to come out of retirement.

Not long after Tampa Bay’s playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Brady retired and the Buccaneers were left without a proven quarterback on their roster.

Less than six weeks later, the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback opted to return and two weeks later, Arians announced that he would be stepping down as head coach and moving into a role in the Bucs' front office, with Todd Bowles becoming the new head coach.

The new Senior Football Consultant explained he was unwilling to leave Bowles with uncertainty at the quarterback position, with Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask on the roster.

"I was going the other way. I was thinking he wasn’t going to play," Arians said. "I was thinking about who are we going to get? Who wants to trade? There wasn’t anybody in the draft.

"That was obvious. Me, to the public, I was fine with the two we had: Blaine and Kyle. Because I’ve seen Blaine win with a good team behind him. Had Tom not come back, I probably would still be coaching. I couldn’t give Todd that situation.”

Because of the timing, rumours circulated that a rift existed between Brady and Arians, but Arians stuck to his line that he had already been thinking about quitting and did not want to leave Bowles with an unsettled quarterback situation.

Arians, who turns 70 in October, also said that he was “upset” with the hiring cycle and expected both Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich to get head coaching jobs. He also admitted that the upcoming season would have been his last anyway.

“I had a bunch of people lined up to take their jobs,” Arians said. “When they were both here and Tom came back, I thought it was the perfect time.”

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has heard plenty of criticism from NFL pundits and fans about his arm strength and his deep throws.

One person not questioning his arm is new team-mate Tyreek Hill.

Speaking on his new podcast, 'It Needed To Be Said', Hill was asked by co-host Julius Collins who has the stronger arm, Tagovailoa or Hill's former quarterback with the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes.

"Obviously, I'm going to go with 15 as the strongest arm, but as far as accuracy-wise, I'm going with Tua all day," Hill said.

Acquired in a trade with the Chiefs in March, Hill defended his new quarterback, saying he has plenty of arm strength and is adept at running an offense.

"I've had a chance to see Tua throw the ball, to myself, but he's that dude, bro," Hill said.

"What a lot of people don't know – I'm not just sitting just saying this because he's my quarterback now, I'm not trying to get more targets right now – what I'm trying to say is Tua is that deal, bro.

"Bro, he has a heck of an arm. He's accurate. He can throw the deep ball, and he actually goes through his reads, where people are on Twitter saying, 'Oh, he doesn't go through his reads'. Man, this dude is that dude."

Tagovailoa has come under fire for having nominal success on deep balls despite this being considered the golden age of passing with all the rules that give offenses an edge in the wide-open NFL.

Among the 30 quarterbacks with at least 300 attempts last season, only the New York Giants' Daniel Jones had fewer pass plays of 25-plus yards than Tagovailoa's 16, with 15.

Tagovailoa attempted just 11 passes of more than 20 yards in 2021, completing three of them for 112 yards with an interception. Meanwhile, Mahomes went 27 for 63 (42.9 per cent) for 1,098 yards with seven TD passes and two picks on throws of at least 20 yards.

However, Tagovailoa did throw more catchable balls on all throws last season, ranking fifth in well-thrown percentage at 81.0 per cent, while Mahomes ranked 12th at 79.5 per cent.

Hill threw more shade in Mahomes' direction, saying he did not need the 2018 NFL MVP to excel, pointing to a game against the Minnesota Vikings in 2019, when Matt Moore started for an injured Mahomes and the three-time All-Pro wide receiver finished with six catches for 140 yards.

"I just want people to understand I went for 150 with Matt Moore as my quarterback," Hill said. "I love you, Matt Moore.

"Versus the Minnesota Vikings. If you don't remember that game, 150 and one touchdown with Matt Moore as my quarterback. And Tua T is 10 Matt Moores. I love Matt Moore, but Tua T is 10 Matt Moores."

It is not surprising for a player to throw so much support behind a new team-mate the way Hill is embracing Tagovailoa, but it is still quite startling to see Hill give so much love to Moore while spurning Mahomes.

This will be Mahomes' first season without the six-time Pro Bowler Hill, so time will tell how the Kansas City offense operates without the dynamic playmaker.

Hunter Renfrow became the latest wide receiver to get a new contract, agreeing to a two-year, $32million extension with the Las Vegas Raiders. 

Renfrow’s new deal includes $21m in guarantees, a source confirmed to ESPN, and comes after the Pro Bowl slot receiver caught 103 passes in a breakthrough season, the third-highest single-season total in franchise history.  

Current teammate Darren Waller had 107 receptions in 2020 and Hall of Famer Tim Brown had 104 in 1997. 

Speaking to the media after the announcement, Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels shared why he values the Clemson product so highly.

"We are thrilled to have reached an agreement with Hunter Renfrow, and look forward to seeing him in Silver and Black for years to come," he said.

"Hunter is one of the true leaders on this team and he exemplifies the values of this organisation in how he comes to work every day. He is a tremendous teammate on and off the field and the entire Raider Nation is excited to see what the future holds for Hunter." 

Renfrow, Waller and offseason acquisition Davante Adams should give the Raiders one of the most productive trios of pass catchers in the league. 

Adams was acquired from the Green Bay Packers in March and the Raiders wasted no time in singing the star receiver to a five-year, $141.25m contract that includes a reported $67.5m in fully guaranteed money.  

Adams’ deal is the largest ever for a wide receiver and was the largest for any non-quarterback in NFL history in terms of annual value and total value, before the Los Angeles Rams signed defensive tackle Aaron Donald to a new $95m contract restructure earlier this week.  

Renfrow is the third key Raiders player to get an extension in the offseason under the new regime led by McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler. Quarterback Derek Carr signed a three-year, $120.5 million extension in April after edge rusher Maxx Crosby got a four-year, $94 million deal in March. 

Renfrow has 208 catches for 2,299 yards and 15 TDs in his three seasons in the NFL.  

The Washington Commanders have fined defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $100,000 for his dismissive comments about the 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol building and for comparing the insurrection to protests against police brutality.  

Head coach Ron Rivera announced the fine with a statement on Friday, while public hearings are ongoing with the House of Representatives Jan. 6 investigative committee.  

On Wednesday, Del Rio referred to the attack on the Capitol building as a "dust-up" compared to the protests that took place in the summer of 2020 after George Floyd was killed in police custody.  

"I can look at images on the TV [of the Floyd protests] — people's livelihoods are being destroyed. Businesses are being burned down. No problem," he said on Wednesday. "And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we're going to make that a major deal. I just think it’s kind of two standards, and if we apply the same standard and we're going to be reasonable with each other, let's have a discussion.” 

Later on Wednesday, Del Rio issued an apology for his comment.  

"Referencing that situation as a dust-up was irresponsible and negligent and I am sorry," he said in a statement.

"I stand by my comments condemning violence in communities across the country. I say that while also expressing my support as an American citizen for peaceful protest in our country."

The NAACP has called for Del Rio to resign or to be fired.  

Rivera's statement said Del Rio's fine will be donated to the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.  

"As we saw last night in the hearings, what happened on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was an act of domestic terrorism," Rivera said. "A group of citizens attempted to overturn the results of a free and fair election, and as a result lives were lost, and the Capitol building was damaged. 

"I want to make it clear that our organisation will not tolerate any equivalency between those who demanded justice in the wake of George Floyd's murder and the actions of those on January 6 who sought to topple our government."

The Las Vegas Raiders have signed wide receiver Hunter Renfrow to a two-year extension.

Renfrow has emerged as a critical part of the Raiders' offense since being drafted in the fifth round in 2019.

And he has been rewarded with a $32million extension that includes $21m in guaranteed money, according to multiple reports from NFL Network.

He becomes the third high-profile Raider to receive a lucrative extension this offseason, following quarterback Derek Carr and edge rusher Maxx Crosby.

With his future now secured, Renfrow will hope to form a prolific pass-catching triumvirate with tight end Darren Waller and Davante Adams, for whom the Raiders traded in a blockbuster deal in March.

Renfrow has caught 208 passes for 2,299 yards and 15 touchdowns across his three seasons in the NFL.

Renowned as one of the NFL's best route runners from the slot, Renfrow enjoyed a career year as the Raiders made the playoffs in 2021.

He finished last season with 103 catches for 1,038 yards – his first 1,000-yard campaign – and nine touchdowns.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll didn’t seem overly concerned that star wide receiver D.K. Metcalf did not attend this week’s mandatory minicamp – subjecting himself to a $93,000 fine in the process – and said he expects a new contract to get finished this offseason. 

Metcalf, who is in line for a huge extension as he enters the final year of his rookie contract, stayed away from camp this week in a somewhat surprising decision. He did attend the voluntary portion of team’s workout program earlier this spring amid his unsettled contract situation and his recovery from foot surgery. 

Because his absence to the mandatory portion of camp was unexcused, he accumulated fines worth over $93,000 for missing all three days, but when Carroll was asked if the team plans to impose those fines, he declined to answer, citing his policy on not publicly discussing such matters. 

Carroll did, however, express the desire to have Metcalf back with the team, and said he had faith in general manager John Schneider's abilities to get a deal done.

"A decision had to be made," Carroll said. "We missed him. He had done a nice job of contributing, being part of everything we had done and then he is just not here.

"So I can’t say much about for what he hasn’t done here, but we’d love to have him with us. We've been through this for years, you know [with other star players] – and it's a challenging time. 

"We've had so many high-profile guys that have gone through this process – and how's that worked out for us? We figured it out in time.

"[Schneider] is on it, and he's as experienced as you can get at handling this stuff, and D.K.'s got great representation, and D.K. is a heck of a kid.'' 

Metcalf is due to earn about $3.99million for the upcoming season, and he figures to be in line for an extension similar to those awarded to new Philadelphia Eagle A.J. Brown, and reigning Offensive Player of the Year Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams, in excess of $20m per year. 

The 24-year-old has not missed a game since Seattle selected him with the 64th overall pick in the 2019 Draft, and has accumulated 216 receptions for 3,170 yards with 29 touchdowns.  

In the end, All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams chose the Las Vegas Raiders over staying with the Green Bay Packers.  

The five-time Pro Bowl selection confirmed to reporters that the Packers offered him more money this offseason than the Raiders, with whom Adams signed a five-year, $141.25million contract extension after being traded.  

After the Packers traded Adams in March for a first-round draft pick and a second-round draft pick, reports surfaced that Green Bay was willing to pay the star receiver just as much – and maybe more – than Las Vegas.  

Adams confirmed those reports in a press conference Thursday.  

"You guys have heard Green Bay offered this, which is higher than what I was [going to make with the Raiders] and all of that. And, yeah, I’ll say it, it was true. OK, it was true," Adams said.

"But there’s much more that goes into it. And family is a big part of it for me. So, geographically being here, it makes it a lot easier for me to stay connected to my family year-round. 

"And this isn’t year two, or I’m not trying to necessarily fight for a job or anything like that to where you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do – you’ve got to stay out there. I had the choice, and the choice was for me to come here and raise my family on the West Coast and come out here and have some fun in the sun." 

Adams, who ranks second all-time in Packers history with 73 receiving touchdowns, leaves four-time MVP and 38-year-old quarterback Aaron Rodgers to reunite with Derek Carr, who was Adams' quarterback at Fresno State.  

"[Rodgers and I] talked throughout the whole process," Adams said in his press conference.  "Just like what he said the other day, we had talks about his future and what he thinks his duration in Green Bay or just football in general would look like. 

"And that played into my decision as well because where I am in my career – and this isn’t a shot at any other quarterbacks in Green Bay. I love Jordan Love especially, he’s a great guy. But I’ve got aspirations of doing really, really big things and being remembered.  

"And it just wasn’t really a point in my career that I was willing to sacrifice Aaron not being there after a year or two. So my decision was to be here and he respected that, he understood that."

Detroit Lions rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams likely will not be cleared to practice when the team begins training camp in July, head coach Dan Campbell told reporters on Thursday.

Williams, the number 12 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, is still recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee the former Alabama All-American suffered in the College Football Playoff national championship game in January.

"I don't see him being ready for training camp, I don't see that," Campbell said following the Lions' mini-camp practice.

"We're going to do this thing the right way, and when he's ready, he'll be ready. But no, I don't feel like you're going to see him out there day one."

The Lions remain optimistic that Williams will be ready for the team's season opener on September 11, although offensive coordinator Ben Johnson recently acknowledged the possibility of scaling back the young speedster's role early on as he gets acclimated.

Johnson told the Detroit Free Press last week Williams' situation differs from that of fellow wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who joined the Lions midway through last season and immediately was installed into the team's receiver rotation.

Reynolds was a veteran player who had a familiarity with quarterback Jared Goff, as the two were team-mates with the Los Angeles Rams for four seasons.

"It's going to be a challenge because you can't really compare it to the Josh Reynolds situation from last year," Johnson said. "We didn't really know him and what he necessarily did best, but at least there was a comfort level between him and the quarterback, and we don't have that [with Williams].

"That's a real struggle for us. [The aim] is to get him back, to get him healthy, and then as many reps as possible with the quarterbacks so that we know exactly where he's going to be, we can anticipate the throw."

ACL injuries typically require eight-to-nine months to completely recover from, which would have Williams at full strength right around the start of the season.

The Lions were not deterred by the injury, as they traded up 20 spots with NFC North rival the Minnesota Vikings to choose Williams with the number 12 pick. The 21-year-old was one of six wide receivers taken in the first 18 selections.

Williams established himself as an elite prospect during his lone season at Alabama, becoming one of college football's most explosive receivers after transferring from Ohio State. His 15 touchdown receptions in 2021 tied for third in the FBS and he led the Crimson Tide with 1,572 receiving yards on 79 catches.

Nine of Williams' 15 touchdown catches were from 40 or more yards, leading the FBS last season, while his 11 receptions of 40 or more yards tied for second among major college players.

"He's a special talent," Goff said. "I know they're going to make sure he's as healthy as possible, but selfishly, I want him back as soon as possible."

Less than three weeks after Tom Brady announced he was unretiring and returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in mid-March, coach Bruce Arians decided to retire.

Despite the timing of Arians' decision to step away, Brady denies having any problems with his former boss.

"Zero whatsoever," Brady said of Arians on Thursday. "He and I have a great relationship. Part of the reason I chose here was because of Bruce.

"I have great respect for him. He knows how I feel about him – that's the most important thing. And I know how he feels about me."

Brady and Arians won the Super Bowl in their first season together with Tampa Bay in 2020.

Shortly after the 69-year-old coach announced his decision to retire on March 30, future Hall of Fame quarterback Brady took to Instagram to say Arians was a major reason he decided to join the Bucs and that he'll be "forever grateful".

Todd Bowles is taking over from Arians as Brady is returning for his third season with Tampa Bay and 23rd in pro football after leading the league with a career-high 5,316 passing yards in 2021, while also ranking first in passing touchdowns with 43.

The soon-to-be 45-year-old led the Buccaneers to a 13-4 regular-season record and NFC South crown last year, but their season ended with a 27-20 loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Brady's long-time companion, Rob Gronkowski, was targeted 11 times in the loss to the Rams, but it's uncertain if he'll be suiting up again this season.

Though many expected Gronkowski to announce he would return after Brady unretired, the 33-year-old tight end has not revealed any decision, and Brady, who has already lured Gronkowski out of retirement once, said he is unaware of his plans.

"I think it's just obviously totally up to him," Brady said. "We'd all love to play with him, but he's got to make the best decision for himself, and he knows that.

"Anyone who cares about him knows that he's doing what's right for him, which is trying to figure it out. We don't have training camp for about six weeks, so whatever he's got to do to figure it out.

"We'll be hopeful if he does, and if he doesn't, then we still gotta go out there and figure out what to do."

The oft-injured Gronkowski is a free agent so does not have to return to the Bucs, though he has implied that if he does play, it will be with Brady.

Brady was reportedly courted by the Miami Dolphins in the last few months while still under contract with Tampa Bay, and he did not refute the rumours that they wanted him as their quarterback or in a front office role.

"I had a lot of conversations with a lot of people," Brady said. "I've had for the last three or four years of my career about different opportunities when I'm done playing football so, I kind of made a decision of what I'd like to do, and I'll get to be in the game of football.

"I think for me, the most important thing is where I'm at now and what I hope to do for this team. That's been my commitment to this team and this organisation.

"It's been so much fun for me to come here two years ago. It's been almost two and a half now and it's been an incredible part of my football journey. And it's not over."

The Pittsburgh Steelers may have found their long-term answer at quarterback in this year's draft, but the future may not be now just yet for rookie Kenny Pickett.

Mitch Trubisky has taken the majority of reps with the first-team offense during the Steelers' offseason training activities and the mandatory mini-camp that began Tuesday, and the five-year veteran told reporters he is operating with the mindset he will be the starting quarterback when Pittsburgh open the season at the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals on September 11. 

"I'm preparing to be the starter," Trubisky said. "I feel like no matter what position you're in, you should prepare [that way].

"I wouldn't read too much into [the first-team snaps], but I'm getting a lot of good reps and I'm feeling really comfortable in the offense.

"I like where we're at right now and I feel very confident."

With 50 career starts under his belt, Trubisky is the most experienced of the three quarterbacks vying to be the successor to the now retired Ben Roethlisberger, a group that includes Pickett – the former University of Pittsburgh standout taken with the 20th overall pick – and holdover Mason Rudolph.

And with the Steelers having no immediate plans to rebuild following a second consecutive playoff appearance in 2021, the 27-year-old seems to have the inside track at opening the post-Roethlisberger era under center.

The opportunity to start again played a large role in Trubisky's decision to join the Steelers on a two-year, $14million contract in March.

He went 29-21 over four seasons with the Chicago Bears from 2017 to 2020 and helped the team to two playoff appearances during that period, but he did not have his fifth-year option picked up and spent last season as a backup to Josh Allen with the Buffalo Bills.

Trubisky said the transition to a new offense and new team-mates has so far gone smoothly.

"I thought we've gotten better every day," he said. "I feel like I'm throwing the ball really well. We've put a lot in and I think the guys have handled it well. We're executing at a pretty high level right now."

While Trubisky saw Pittsburgh as a spot to potentially reestablish himself as a viable NFL starter, the Steelers are hoping the 2017 number two overall pick's arm strength is a good fit for an offense that often struggled generating big passing plays with the ageing Roethlisberger.

Pittsburgh's 6.05 yards per pass attempt in 2021 ranked 30th in the league, trailing only the also-ran Carolina Panthers and the New York Giants.

"He's been one of the quarterbacks to release it, for sure," rookie wide receiver George Pickens said. "Yeah, he's been launching it."

Cooper Kupp is undoubtedly among the best wide receivers in the NFL – and now he’ll be paid like one. 

The Los Angeles Rams and Kupp have agreed on a three-year, $80million contract extension Wednesday that ties him to the franchise for the next five years at $110m, according to multiple reports.  

Kupp put together one of the best seasons in league history in 2021, leading the NFL with 145 receptions for 1,945 yards and 16 touchdowns, earning Offensive Player of the Year honours in the process. 

He capped the memorable season with eight catches for 92 yards and two scores, including the late game-winner, and was named MVP in the Rams’ Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in February.  

Even with the new extension, Kupp will still trail the Miami Dolphins’ Tyreek Hill, Las Vegas Raiders’ Davante Adams, Arizona Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins, Philadelphia Eagles’ A.J. Brown and Buffalo Bills’ Stefon Diggs in yearly value on receiver contracts.  

Kupp was asked in April if he felt he needed to be the league’s highest-paid receiver after his stellar season.  

''I don't think that's really kind of the approach that I take,'' he said. ''I think there's definitely a place where you want to be.

"There's a place that I think you feel is fair, and a place both for me and this organization. I want to be there. I'm not trying to beat anybody. I'm not trying to compare myself to anyone else. It's more of just being in a place that's just right for both sides.'' 

Kupp becomes the second star player the champion Rams have extended this week. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald had his contract re-worked on Monday, making him the highest paid non-quarterback in the NFL.  

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