Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury joked he was unsuccessful in trying to break up the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams while attending Sean McVay's wedding.
Kingsbury explained Thursday he tried to convince defensive tackle Aaron Donald to retire and urged wide receiver Cooper Kupp to embark on a long-term holdout:
Robby Baker @RobbyBakerTV
Kliff Kingsbury on attending Sean McVay's wedding and trying to talk Aaron Donald into retiring<br><br>"I told him you've accomplished all you can accomplish, it's a great idea to go out on your own terms" <br><br>It was worth a shot <a href="https://twitter.com/FOX10Phoenix?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FOX10Phoenix</a> <a href="https://t.co/MQ6g4VovCO">pic.twitter.com/MQ6g4VovCO</a>
Both Donald and Kupp proceeded to sign new contracts as McVay and Co. get ready to open their title defense in September.
The NFC West sent three teams to the playoffs last season, the Rams, Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, and it figures to remain one of the NFL's most competitive divisions in 2022.
Los Angeles' quest to repeat would have taken a serious hit if either Donald, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, or Kupp, the 2021 Offensive Player of the Year, weren't on the field to open the new campaign.
The Rams avoided that fate, though it required significant financial commitments.
L.A. couldn't retain every member of its championship squad—linebacker Von Miller going to the Buffalo Bills and cornerback Darious Williams joining the Jacksonville Jaguars headlined the free-agent departures—but the Rams kept a vast majority of their key contributors.
While they're squarely in the championship conversation once again to open 2022, the Cardinals are trying to take the next step toward that discussion after going 11-6 to end a five-year playoff drought last season. They were knocked out in the opening round of the playoffs by the Rams, though.
The Cards' main offseason splash was acquiring wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown to give quarterback Kyler Murray another weapon on the outside.
DeAndre Hopkins will miss the first six games of the season after being suspended for a violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. Once he returns, Arizona should feature one of the league's deepest pass-catching groups with Hopkins, Brown, A.J. Green, Rondale Moore and tight end Zach Ertz.
Positive strides from the defense, which ranked 11th in yards allowed per game (329.2) last season, would also bolster the Cardinals' chances of keeping pace with the Rams.
Ultimately, Kingsbury will hope his team's on-field efforts are more productive than his admittedly half-hearted attempts to weaken the Rams' roster.