The Los Angeles Rams wanted a contract extension with quarterback Matthew Stafford for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that in his first year with the team, he led the franchise to a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.
They didn't have to work hard to persuade Stafford, who might have wanted the new contract as much as -- if not more than -- the Rams. He indicated on Monday his experience with the Rams was everything he hoped for, particularly in light of his 12 difficult seasons with the Detroit Lions.
"I just had so much fun playing for this team this year, playing for this organization, this coaching staff, and I wanted to make sure I was able to do this for a long time,'' said Stafford, who recently agreed to the four-year extension worth $160 million with $135 guaranteed, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
"I obviously wanted to say thanks to the Rams for giving me that opportunity. It was a lot of hard work getting to this point. I'm just happy where we are and to know what the future looks like for me and for our team. It's an exciting thing as a player to kind of know where you are going to be and be able to put some roots down and really go try to make something really special for a while.
"I was just trying to find something that felt good for both sides where we are able to continue to add players and pieces around me.''
The Rams also recently signed free agent Allen Robinson II from the Chicago Bears to join a wide receiving group that includes Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson. Robinson is well known for making difficult catches in tight coverage.
"Some of the areas that becomes such an advantage is probably down in the red zone,'' Stafford said. "There's just less field for defenders to defend. Therefore, it's a little bit easier to cover guys. His ability to go up and make catches over guys, around guys, whatever it is, is really special. I've seen it up close and personal.
"At the same time, for a guy of his size, I think he does a great job of separating, too. There are quite a few times where he's doing a great job whether it's at the line of scrimmage or whether it's at the top of his route transitioning and doing a great job of creating space for the quarterback as well. I think you get the best of both worlds when it comes to that with him. I'm eager to get out there and get to work with him and see what it's like throwing to him."
Robinson said he was eager to play with Stafford as well.
"Just kind of watching Matt's career from afar, seeing all of the receivers he's played with and being able to see everything he's been able to help his receivers accomplish ... being able to kind of step into that and being able to build that rapport and that relationship, that's what I'm looking forward to,'' he said.
Kupp had one of the best statistical seasons ever by a wide receiver in 2021 with 145 catches, 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns. He then had another 33 receptions and six TDs in four playoff games, including two scores in the Super Bowl.
Robinson had a down season last year but is one year removed from a 102-catch, 1,250-yard season. Stafford was asked whether the Rams have the NFL's best wide receiving group.
"It looks pretty good on paper,'' he said. "It's on us to go out there and make sure that comes to life ... We've got to go out there and prove it.''