Rams have another difficult quarterback contract to navigate

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Rams
Getty Images

After the Rams made it to the Super Bowl four years ago, they decided to give their starting quarterback a contract that they quickly came to regret. After winning the Super Bowl last year, the same thing may have happened.

The glass-half-full Rams would never dare to admit that, in hindsight, they may have given Matthew Stafford too good of a deal, and that they currently are facing a damned-if-they-do-damned-if-they-don’t decision on Stafford’s future.

Stafford has said he’s not retiring. Why would he? On March 19, another $57 million in compensation becomes fully guaranteed. And that’s after the Rams gave him $61.5 million in 2022.

Stafford is good, when he has enough time to get rid of the ball. And when he has a running game. And when he can avoid taking the kinds of hits that get him injured. This year was a disaster for Stafford and the Rams.

But what can they do? A trade before March 19, when the $57 million vests, would trigger a $48 million cap charge. Cutting him with a post-June 1 designation before March 19 would result in $12 million hitting the cap this year, and $36 million in 2024.

Those are the only alternatives to keeping Stafford. And, if he’s still unable to pass a physical by the middle of March due to the spinal cord contusion that ended his 2022 season prematurely, they wouldn’t be able to trade him or cut him anyway.

If he’s healthy, though, what do they do? Considering the broad range of available veteran quarterbacks for 2023, would they throw $57 million in good money after what may have been a bad investment of $61.5 million — especially as the Rams continue to navigate the rocky aftermath of their all-in, “eff them picks” quest for a Super Bowl win?

The Rams may be looking at another year or two or more of struggles. Why pay so much to a quarterback who is about to be 35? And it feels like an old 35, given the various injuries he’s had both in Detroit and L.A.

The Rams would surely scoff at the prospect of moving on from Stafford, the same way they scoffed at the prospect of not giving Goff a second contract that they later escaped only by tucking an extra first-round pick into the Stafford trade package.

The point here isn’t that they should move on from Stafford. The point is that they need to sit down and make a conscious, strategic decision about whether to commit another $57 million to Stafford.

As part of that process, they need to remove the blue-and-gold-colored glasses and objectively assess where they currently are, where they’re heading, and how they got here.

7 responses to “Rams have another difficult quarterback contract to navigate

  1. Don’t get rid of stafford unless you have a better replacement. A championship only buys a small amount of good will with a new fanbase; just ask the diamondbacks and marlins. It takes time to build a loyal fanbase.

  2. Cut him.
    They won their Super Bowl and this season revealed how thin their roster is. Time to rebuild, and you don’t do that with an aging/overpriced QB whose best days are in the past.

  3. The thing is Baker is playing with an even worse line, and doesn’t have Kupp and Robinson on the outside. I think Stafford elbow is a way bigger problem than hin or the rams are admitting

  4. Their cap may be hurting for a couple of years.
    Thats ok because their older players are going to decline.
    They need to accept the facts and rebuild after one more year.

  5. Yep, this is what happens when you keep adding dummy years to contracts and kicking the can down the road. Eventually the chickens come home to roost. And also, paying big time money to a decent but not great qb.

  6. Baker looked pretty damn good behind the a worse line and without Kupp and Robinson! When QBs go south they usually go south FAST, so the question is: has Stafford crossed that line?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.