OCTOBER 31: The Buccaneers will follow through with their protection measure. Wolford will be signed to the Bucs’ 53-man roster, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The Bucs will now carry three quarterbacks on their active roster. This comes after both the Rams and Vikings showed interest in poaching Wolford off the practice squad, per Russini. Kevin O’Connell coached Wolford for two seasons in Los Angeles. Despite multiple potential opportunities to join another team’s 53, Wolford will make the jump in Tampa.
OCTOBER 30, 7:25pm: It sounds like the Rams will have to look elsewhere for QB depth. According to Dianna Russini of The Athletic, Wolford informed the Rams that he prefers to stay in Tampa Bay. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport adds that the quarterback is expected to stick with the Buccaneers and be added to the active roster.
6:25pm: John Wolford is set to return to Los Angeles. The longtime Rams backup left for a Buccaneers deal this offseason, but the Rams have seen Matthew Stafford run into another injury. They will take action via an outside hire.
The Rams intend to sign Wolford off the Bucs’ practice squad, according to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini. Wolford did not make Tampa Bay’s 53-man roster, with Kyle Trask in place behind starter Baker Mayfield. Wolford has spent the season on the Bucs’ P-squad, but the latest Stafford injury issue will prompt the Rams to close a deal on a reunion.
Because the Rams are signing Wolford off Tampa Bay’s taxi squad, he must remain on L.A.’s active roster for at least three weeks. That will be a familiar place for Wolford, who resided as the backup to Stafford and Jared Goff during a four-year L.A. stay. The Rams replaced Wolford with ex-Broncos backup Brett Rypien this offseason. Rookie Stetson Bennett is not in the picture presently, residing on the Rams’ reserve/NFI list.
Rypien replaced Stafford after he suffered a thumb injury against the Cowboys. The 15th-year QB is battling a UCL sprain in his throwing thumb, and this upcoming transaction casts some doubt the starter’s availability for Week 9. Stafford missed eight games last season. Coming into 2022, however, the former Lions mainstay had only missed time in one of the previous 11 seasons (due to a 2019 back injury). With IR not off the table for Stafford, the Rams are once again scrambling at the game’s premier position.
Goff brought more durability than Stafford has, leaving Wolford on the bench for much of his first two seasons in California. Signed initially after a stint in the short-lived Alliance of American Football in 2019, Wolford did end up playing a key role for the 2020 Rams. A Goff thumb injury sidelined him for the Rams’ 2020 season finale, and Sean McVay turned to Wolford in for Week 17 and then the wild-card round. A Wolford neck injury knocked him out of that Rams-Seahawks tilt, leading an injured Goff back into action. The Rams included Goff in the Stafford trade weeks later.
Wolford, 28, has made five career starts. Three of those came in relief of Stafford last season. Last year, the Wake Forest product was not especially productive. The start he is credited with winning included scant usage, with the Rams inserting Mayfield — with the team for all of two days at that point — into the lineup and seeing the waiver claim lead an improbable game-winning drive to beat the Raiders. Wolford did not factor into the Mayfeld-Trask Tampa competition, but he may have another opportunity soon — depending on how the Rams navigate the Stafford situation.