Matthew Stafford contract eventually will wreak havoc on Rams’ salary cap

Los Angeles Rams v New Orleans Saints
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There’s an important reason why the Rams have pivoted from “fuck them picks” to “pluck them picks.” They need a broad nucleus of young, cheap talent to offset the salary-cap disasters looming on their roster.

There’s no bigger coming cap mess than the one associated with quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Although Stafford has a manageable cap figure of $20 million in 2023, trading him would have sparked a $48 million dead-money charge for 2023. Which is reason alone for Stafford to not be traded now.

Next year, the Stafford cap number spikes to $49.5 million. A trade before June 1 would trigger a $55.5 million cap hit.

And, sure, the Rams could (and probably would) restructure Stafford’s $31 million salary for 2024. Still, at some point they’ll be taking a massive cap charge for the $61.5 million he received last year, while carrying a 2022 cap charge of only $13.5 million.

By 2025, Stafford’s cap number will be $50.5 million. He’ll be 37 that year. But it would still cost $37 million in dead money to trade him before June 1.

That’s only two years away. And he’s only been on the team two years. When considering everything they gave up to get him (Jared Goff, two first-round picks, and a third-round pick), it’s hard not to wonder whether it was worth it.

Sure, they won a Super Bowl with Stafford. But that likely will be the only one. And they could end up swirling in a purgatory that may not end for a while.

31 responses to “Matthew Stafford contract eventually will wreak havoc on Rams’ salary cap

  1. Can’t believe it’s even a question if it was “worth” it. Some teams haven’t made the playoffs in a decade, let alone sniff the Super Bowl.

  2. “…’s hard not to wonder whether it was worth it.
    Sure, they won a Super Bowl with Stafford. But that likely will be the only one. And they could end up swirling in a purgatory that may not end for a while.”

    Pretty awful take. THEY WON THE SUPER BOWL! There’s at least 12 teams out there (never won a Super Bowl) that would gladly trade 5+ years of losing for a championship, especially the Lions.

  3. One issue with all this Stafford is finished as a player with that neck/vertebrae/nerve injury (and all the other cumulated injuries), but he will keep showing up because of that contract, keep cashing very large checks and still try to play.

  4. Really a disaster, and to think how much praise their leadership received on the march to the Super Bowl is laughable. They’re going to be bad for a long time.

  5. The disaster has already started. Just because it’s
    not instantaneous doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    Wait until Kronke’s seats are all empty and they have zero homefirld advantage for like 10 years.

  6. So-Fi will become the suck factory dominated by a 95% visitor fan base. It will be an annual vacation for other fans

  7. i think the rams knew all along this day would come. they werent naive going into any of this. i believe it was the plan all along. which is just another reason (in a long list of reasons) why the nfl and the refs helped them along the way to that superbowl ***win***. get mad and downvote all you want. anyone with eyes could see what was happening that yr. new stadium, new city, lawsuits from st louis, etc, etc, etc. needed to get the rams brand money money

  8. If the question is ‘in return for a Super Bowl title, would you accept several rebuilding years?’, how could the answer be anything but yes?

  9. oh and in regards to my previous comment, im totally not hatin on the rams, i like them fellas, and id totally celebrate a superbowl victory handed to my team. hell the pats been doin that stuff for years and their fans are happy with it. delusional, but happy.

  10. Yeah. Not a Disaster. Absolutely worth it. THEY WON A SUPERBOWL. I mean it is really dangerous what they did– you go all in and cripple yourself for a half decade, but IF you win, then YES, it is worth it.

    This is an article for those teams that go all in and don’t win the Super Bowl, sometimes don’t sniff the Super Bowl. Arizona takes a QB with a top 10 pick, trades him for peanuts without using him and then takes another QB at the very top of the draft and still end up firing the coach and questioning the commitment of the second QB– Never sniff a Super Bowl. That is a disaster. Denver trades 2 1sts and 2 2nd’s and can’t make the playoffs (though even this is too early to call). The Jets draft a top 5 QB. Replace him with a top 5 QB 3 yrs later. Replace him. Can’t win. THAT is a disaster.

    Going all in on a roll of the dice and winning the thing knowing you will suck for 5 yrs? Dangerous. But damn they did it and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  11. You play for championships which they got with Stafford, if they had stuck with Goff they would have been stuck in purgatory so the trade was well worth it even if it takes the Rams 15-20 years to win another.

  12. The Rams sold their future for a ring. It was worth it though. A lot of teams would do the same thing for a title. But it’s going to be a very rough several years, especially given all the future draft picks they’ve traded away.

  13. It’s a matter of time and shows why teams are reluctant on the WB in Baltimore. Wisely so

  14. Yeah, they won a Super Bowl, worth every penny, just ask a Browns, Lions, Jaguars, and Texans fan.

  15. I can think of many teams that would suffer through 5+ years of losing in exchange for a ring

  16. Yes, the Rams won a Super Bowl, but this contract extension was signed after that victory and was not necessary to complete the trade with the Lions. It was structured with low base-salary numbers for 2022 and 2023, thinking the Rams would be contenders for a repeat. At this point, if you’re the Rams, you’re praying he retires after the 2024 season, and just keeps the signing bonus, while you move ahead with a general rebuild.

  17. This so called problem will be negotiated away. Another offseason rabbit hole in search of a story

  18. I guess its all perspective. No doubt its great to win a super bowl, but now their fans get to enjoy five years of watching your team fall apart and suck? Wouldn’t be worth it to me personally. As a Washington football fan, I can attest to what its like watching your team eliminated before Thanksgiving more often than not.

    There are teams who have shown how to be consistently in the playoff/super bowl conversation year after year. I’ll enjoy watching the genius Rams get their asses handed to them.

  19. The Rams are in cap hell but at least they have a SB to show for unlike the Buffalo Bills.

  20. touchback6 says:
    March 10, 2023 at 12:21 pm
    The disaster has already started. Just because it’s
    not instantaneous doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    Wait until Kronke’s seats are all empty and they have zero homefirld advantage for like 10 years.
    You should be more concerned with the Mac Jones/Patriots offense disaster.

  21. As was pointed out above the contract came after the Super Bowl so this argument in flawed. In hindsight it looks bad but at the time I can’t fault the process. They didn’t know Stafford would be injured, that’s always a risk in the NFL. The Allen Robinson signing didn’t hit like their other free agent signings and the o line declined. Stafford struggles without a strong supporting cast and then gets hurt and the season goes poorly. Hard to catch lightning in a bottle twice but I don’t blame them for trying.

  22. Ask the folks in Dallas, Green Bay, San Francisco and Buffalo if they would trade a bit of future roster turbulence and uncertainty for a Lombardi. In 6 years as head coach, McVay has 5 winning seasons, 4 playoff births, 2 SB trips, 1 Lombardi trophy to show for his efforts. Cowboys, Packers, 49ers and Bills combined in THIS CENTURY have a single SB win between them.

    As for the Rams not getting back to the SB anytime soon… what do you base that on? I mean damn, there are 32 teams and only two get to the SB each year, so yeah, maybe the odds are in your favour for that hot take Mike. But I would not bet against another McVay /Stafford deep playoff run before any of the above 4 teams have even a sniff at the Lombardi.

  23. Some are posting that the Rams are going to suck for 5 years, like something that can’t really be predicted, is a fact. I am not a Rams fan, but they are extremely good at drafting players from rounds 3 thru 7. Next season, the Rams will probably not have the injury issues they had last season. If Stafford & Kupp are healthy, the Rams are dangerous. They do need an upgrade at running back, though.

  24. The Rams in 2016 looked years away from contending for a Super Bowl, completely lost.

    2018 made it to one
    2021 won one

    Keep on hatin’

  25. I would still like to ask Stafford how the calls felt at the goal line in the Bengals Super Bowl, vs his whole career in Detroit.
    Remember that playoff PI in Dallas, that got picked up after the commercial break?

  26. Perhaps I missed a rumor or something, but who in the world would be trading for Matt Stafford now? Talk about a risky move…

  27. Most definitely worth it. Cowboys have gone 27 years not having got there while managing their cap. Jones said he’d pay big money to win a Super Bowl. It’s empty talk.

  28. If the Packers could do what a quarter of what the Rams did, they would have added another Super Bowl trophy during Rodgers’ tenure. When you have a winning window and you don’t pounce on it, all you get is darkness.

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