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Matthew Stafford Says He's Been Recruiting Odell Beckham, Aaron Donald Back to Rams

March 30, 2022 12:05PM

Matthew Stafford Says He's Been Recruiting Odell Beckham, Aaron Donald Back to Rams
MARCH 30, 2022

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford said Tuesday that he is hard at work trying to get wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive tackle Aaron Donald to return to the team in 2022.

Speaking to TMZ Sports, Stafford said he is "doing what I can" to recruit Beckham and Donald back into the fold:

Beckham is a free agent after tearing his ACL in the Rams' Super Bowl win over the Cincinnati Bengals to conclude last season, while Donald and the Rams are reportedly negotiating a new contract that would see him return in 2022 and beyond.

Stafford added, "You're going to have to ask those guys," when asked if he felt they were going to return in 2022 before joking that he was out buying presents for them in an effort to convince them to stay.

Aaron Gordon with the flush
Beckham was a difference-maker once the Rams signed him midway through the 2021 season after he was released by the Cleveland Browns. The 29-year-old caught 27 passes for 305 yards and five touchdowns in eight regular-season games for the Rams.

Beckham's acquisition coincided with Robert Woods tearing his ACL, so OBJ instantly stepped in as Stafford's No. 2 option behind Cooper Kupp.

Beckham hit his stride during the Rams' playoff run, recording 21 receptions for 288 yards and two touchdowns in four games. That included scoring the first touchdown of the Super Bowl.

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The Rams signed wide receiver Allen Robinson in free agency this offseason, but they traded Woods to the Tennessee Titans, so there could still be room for Beckham alongside Kupp, Robinson and Van Jefferson.

Donald has been a dominant force since entering the NFL as the Rams' first-round pick in 2014, earning eight Pro Bowl nods, seven first-team All-Pro selections and three Defensive Player of the Year awards.

The 30-year-old is already one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, and he continued to perform at a high level last season, recording 12.5 regular-season sacks and 3.5 playoff sacks.

That included two sacks of Joe Burrow in the Super Bowl, plus he wrecked the Bengals' final offensive play of the game to seal the win.

Rumors suggested Donald was mulling retirement after the Super Bowl, but Rams head coach Sean McVay said this week that Donald told him he was returning to the team in 2022.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler did report that Donald is seeking a new contract that would make him the highest-paid defensive player in the league. The Rams might have to do some financial maneuvering to make it happen, but the future Hall of Famer has earned the right to command such a lofty figure.

Assuming Donald returns in 2022, the Rams will be strong candidates to run it back and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl again, and re-signing Beckham could perhaps put them over the top when he returns during the season.

  Matthew Stafford Says He's Been Recruiting Odell Beckham, Aaron Donald Back to Rams

BerendsenRam185March 30, 2022 12:05PM