The Rams traded two first-round picks and change to acquire Matthew Stafford, so it would stand to reason they are planning to commit to the former Lions starter long-term. But after the trade, a new contract was not viewed as an immediate priority.
Stafford’s 2017 extension runs through the 2022 season; $43MM remains on the deal. However, the Rams are more than $30MM over the low-end salary cap projection ($180MM) and could benefit by a Stafford extension lowering his 2021 cap hit. The team plans to address Stafford’s contract, be it through an extension or restructure, according to The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue (subscription required).
At the time of signing, Stafford’s $27MM-per-year deal raised the then-stagnant QB market by $2MM. That began a hotbed of activity, which included the Rams’ ill-fated $33.5MM-per-year deal for Jared Goff, and Deshaun Watson‘s $39MM-AAV pact now tops the market (for conventional, non-Patrick Mahomes QB contracts). Given the price the Rams paid, Stafford would have some leverage in extension talks — should he choose to exercise it.
The 33-year-old passer is only set to count $20MM against the Rams’ 2021 cap, though a base-to-signing bonus restructure could lower that in a non-extension scenario. The Lions already restructured Stafford’s contract, adding a void year. A Stafford extension would align with that of his new receivers — Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, whose 2020 extensions run through 2025 and 2023, respectively — and defensive cornerstones Aaron Donald (through 2024) and Jalen Ramsey (through ’25). Putting Stafford on the same timeline has factored into his equation, per Rodrigue.
It seems the Rams will be approaching their new quarterback soon, and other restructures should be on tap considering the team’s current cap situation.
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