The Los Angeles Rams have assembled one of the deepest corps of talented receivers. None of them should be considered among the top five, but together are a formidable threat. Despite suffering from some injuries, the receiving corps was able to adjust and still make an impact. Most of the corps is returning in 2020, but how did they all do in 2019?
Brandin Cooks, 6-year pro, 4-year/$64,800,000 Contract (Remaining)
Cooks finished the season with underwhelming numbers of 42 receptions, 583 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He also had six rushing attempts for 52 rushing yards. These are among the lowest stats he’s achieved since his rookie year. There are a couple of reasons as to why Cooks struggled in 2019.
First off, Cooks suffered from multiple concussions and played in 14 games as a result. While that explains a little of the production loss, it primarily boils down to the offensive adjustment. The Rams offense struggled at times throughout 2019, and they were forced to rely on short-mid range passes. The problem with this type of adjustment is it limits the productivity of a burner receiver like Cooks that truly benefits and shines from deep passes. To be fair, the few deep passes that Jared Goff threw out weren’t accurate at all.
Since Cooks is still under contract, we can expect the Rams to try and form the offense to take more deep passes. The shifting of offensive linemen truly had an effect on the entire offense. If Cooks stays healthy, we can expect him to bounce back in 2020.
Robert Woods, 7-year pro, 2-year/$13,600,000 Contract (Remaining)
Woods has become one of the more reliable receivers in the league. Despite the offensive struggles, Woods put up some impressive number finishing with 90 receptions, 1,134 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He also earned 115 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Woods started off a little slow but quickly picked up the pace as the 2019 season progressed. He exploded in Weeks 4 and 13 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals, combining for a total of 26 receptions for 336 yards. While Woods too could make plays with deep passes, he is versatile enough to adjust to short and mid-range passes.
We can expect the same kind of production in 2020. With two years remaining on his current contract, the Rams will be sure to continue to use Woods as a potent offensive threat.
Cooper Kupp, 3-year pro, 1-year/$961,000 Contract (Remaining)
Kupp had a breakout year in 2019. He finished the season with 94 receptions, 1,161 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Most of his big games occurred in the first-half of 2019. His biggest game came in Week 8 when he earned 220 receiving yards and one touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Truthfully, Kupp was made for this type of offense. That said, he did disappear during second half of the season. Still, Kupp proved how valuable he is to the Rams offense. He continues to be Goff’s favorite target and will likely continue his production in 2020.
Kupp does have one of the more cap-friendlier deals remaining on the team since he is still working off his rookie contract. But beyond 2020, expect Kupp to get paid. The Rams may want to engage in preliminary contract negotiations before he hits the free agent market.
Josh Reynolds, 3-year pro, 1-year/$735,000 Contract (Remaining)
In 2018, Reynolds stepped up for the injured Kupp. This past season, Reynolds stepped up for the injured Cooks. His numbers are down due to the lack opportunities, which makes sense since this is a deep receiving corps. He finished the 2019 season with 21 receptions, 326 yards and one touchdown.
Expect Reynolds to have a similar role in 2020. Should an injury arise, Reynolds is a reliable receiver to have as a backup. Expect him to play hard for a big contract in 2021.
Mike Thomas, 4-year pro, UFA
Thomas is notoriously known as a “preseason warrior.” He plays well enough to make the roster each year, but doesn’t contribute much of anything. It’s not like he has a ton of opportunities, but the few looks he does get, he doesn’t take advantage. Thomas was targeted five times, but only had two receptions for 14 receiving yards.
Thomas doesn’t really offer much that the Rams can’t just draft or sign as an undrafted free agent. If Sean McVay is truly impressed with what he has to offer, it shouldn’t take much to bring him back for 2020.
Nsimba Webster, 1-year pro, ERFA
Webster came to the Rams as an undrafted free agent. He gathered the attention of Les Snead and McVay during the preseason, where he impressed as a receiver and a kick/punt returner. Webster spent the majority of the season on the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster to keep him on the team when other teams were attempting to sign him. He eventually came in to be a returner after JoJo Natson went down with an injury.
Webster has some upside as a receiver and could be worth bringing him back. Shouldn’t cost too much to bring him back and will likely compete with the 2020 undrafted free agents.
JoJo Natson, 3-year pro, RFA
Technically, Natson is a special-teamer and not so much a wide receiver. He is listed as wide receiver on the roster, but there were never any real plans to use him as a receiver. Natson’s primary role was a kick/punt returner, but for more evaluation on that, please wait for an upcoming article on the special teams. Either way, the Rams have a big decision to make to see if they want to bring him back in 2020.
Greg Dortch, 1-year pro, Signed a Future Contract
The Rams signed Dortch to the practice squad in December. He will likely compete for a roster or practice squad spot in 2020.