NOVEMBER 16: Stafford returned to practice in full on Wednesday, and he said (via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic) he expects to do the same during the rest of the week. The veteran added he originally thought his thumb injury was worse than it was, but a strong next few days will pave the way for his return. That will be a welcomed development for a Rams team looking to improve on its 3-6 start.
NOVEMBER 13: Matthew Stafford is expected to be back under center for the Rams in Week 11. Coach Sean McVay told reporters that his starting QB should be good to go for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks (via ESPN’s Sarah Barshop).
“He’s making great progress, and so we’re operating with the anticipation and expectation that he is going to be good to go,” McVay said. “He’ll be pushing through, but we expect him to be able to start and play and do his thing and lead the way this week.”
Stafford injured the UCL in his thumb back in Week 8. The Rams went with Brett Rypien in Week 9, and the organization ended up moving on from the backup following that loss to the Packers. Barring an unexpected setback, newly-signed Carson Wentz will be the Rams QB2 moving forward. McVay spoke on the Rams’ QB switch, noting that the front office viewed the move as a clear upgrade.
“[We] feel good about Matthew returning, and obviously when he’s out there, you feel great about the leadership and everything that he provides, but god forbid if something were to happen where he weren’t available, felt like this would offer an opportunity for somebody that’s played a lot of high level football to get him in here [and] get him kind of familiar with some of the things that we’re doing,” McVay said.
Thanks to the Rams’ Week 10 bye, Stafford has had two weeks to recover from his thumb injury. While the veteran’s completion percentage and TD percentage are among the lowest of his career, the Rams offense will surely welcome back their starter.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is 35 years old, has a Super Bowl ring, and has earned over $320MM from his playing career. He is also in the midst of his second consecutive subpar season and is currently dealing with a UCL sprain after having suffered through elbow troubles and a spinal contusion in 2022. Add it all up, and it stands to reason that there would be some retirement speculation surrounding the No. 1 overall pick of the 2009 draft, just as there was around this time last year.
Stafford, however, is having none of it. On a recent episode of The Pat McAfee Show, the Georgia product made it clear that he is still not contemplating retirement (video link).
“I love playing this game, I love competing,” Stafford said (h/t Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk). “I love being in the locker room. I’ll never get that again, so I get as many opportunities to do that as I can. I love this team, I love the city, it’s been a blast. Obviously had a lot of success in our first year and trying to duplicate that this year, next year, whenever it is. I enjoy playing too much to hang it up.”
Stafford did concede, when asked if he plans to keep playing “until the wheels fall off,” that his wheels are “wobbling a little bit right now as we speak,” and that he will likely not play “until the wheels completely fall off.” Nonetheless, it seems certain that he will return in 2024.
From a purely financial perspective, there is no reason for Stafford not to suit up next season. On the third day of the 2023 league year in March, the Rams picked up the veteran passer’s 2023 option bonus and his 2024 salary, and he is therefore due a fully-guaranteed $31MM next season. Los Angeles may or may not have attempted to trade Stafford prior to incurring those costs, but after a mediocre and injury-marred 2022, it was never likely that another team would subject itself to the same financial burden by acquiring Stafford. And unless Stafford dramatically improves on his 2023 performance to date — in eight games this season, he has completed less than 60% of his passes for eight touchdowns and seven interceptions — GM Les Snead should not expect to receive any trade inquiries when the 2024 league year begins.
As such, the Rams and Stafford appear to be heading for at least one more year together (he is under club control through 2026). But since Stafford’s 2024 cap hit checks in at a whopping $49.5MM, Snead may at least approach his signal-caller about some sort of restructure, or even a pay cut.
In related news, the Rams did reach out to newly-acquired QB2 Carson Wentz earlier this season, as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes in a subscribers-only piece. However, Los Angeles did not circle back to Wentz until after the since-waivedBrett Rypien disappointed in the club’s Week 9 loss to the Packers on Sunday, and Fowler reports that the Rams’ contract offer represented the first “tangible opportunity” Wentz received since he was released by Washington in February. Wentz may therefore be in for another lengthy stay on the free agent market in 2024, though it is conceivable that he impresses the Rams’ staff enough to return as Stafford’s backup next season.
NOVEMBER 9: Wentz will receive a $150K signing bonus as part of the deal, along with a prorated portion of the veteran’s minimum, per ESPN’s Field Yates. The veteran will therefore earn $733K over the course of the next few months in his new home. QB2 duties await Wentz when Stafford is healthy, but any playing opportunities afforded to him will give the former a chance to earn a free agent deal much sooner in 2024 than this 2023 contract.
NOVEMBER 7: After struggling without Matthew Stafford in Week 9, the Rams will make a big move at quarterback. They have agreed to terms with Carson Wentz, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson reports, ending a lengthy free agency stay for the former No. 2 overall pick by placing him on their practice squad.
While Wentz has not been closely connected to a team since his Commanders release, the longtime Eagles starter was mentioned as an option for a few after injuries struck. With Stafford loosely on track to return after a thumb injury sidelined him in Week 9, it will be the Rams who make the move. The Rams will release QB Dresser Winn from their practice squad in a corresponding move.
The Rams attempted to reacquire John Wolford last week, but the Buccaneers promoted him to their 53-man roster to nix that effort. Brett Rypien, who signed with the team after the draft, started in place of Stafford and struggled in Green Bay. It is uncertain if Wentz will be viewed as ready to replace Stafford if needed in Week 11, but he would have a longer onramp compared to Baker Mayfield. The Rams have experience in readying a QB to make an immediate cameo, turning to Mayfield two days after claiming him. Los Angeles’ bye also arrives in Week 10, giving Wentz some time to begin learning Sean McVay‘s offense.
McVay said he expects Stafford to be ready following the Rams’ bye week, but the team has higher-profile insurance in Wentz. Stafford, 35, has seen his run of durability halt in L.A. After a nagging elbow injury affected his 2022 offseason, the Super Bowl-winning QB missed a chunk of last season due to a spinal contusion. Stafford made the first eight starts for the Rams this season; the thumb issue intervened to provide another pause for the 15th-year passer.
Wentz and the Rams had been working on a deal Monday night, per The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue. This will be Wentz’s fourth team (and fourth in four seasons). After the one-time MVP frontrunner’s 2021 Eagles split, the Colts dumped him in March 2022. Requiring higher-end trade compensation to move to both Indianapolis and Washington, Wentz was simply released this year. The 30-year-old passer trained for months with an eye on a 2023 re-emergence and reached out to the Jets about an opportunity following Aaron Rodgers‘ Week 1 Achilles tear. Gang Green stuck with Zach Wilson, and Wentz ended up waiting until midseason to reenter the league.
It is safe to say Wentz’s stock has tanked since it once required a first-round pick to acquire him in 2021. Jim Irsay insisted the Colts trade Wentz following the 2021 season — a 27-touchdown, seven-interception slate that ended ignominiously, with the unvaccinated QB missing practice time due to a COVID-19 contraction and the Colts losing their final two games to squander a playoff opportunity — and the Commanders benched a player they surrendered two third-rounders for midway through last season. Wentz suffered a fractured finger in October 2022, but after Taylor Heinicke helped the Commanders resurface in the wild-card race, Ron Riverakept Wentz on the bench. Washington gave Wentz a start in Week 17; he threw three interceptions to dash any Commanders hopes of a last-ditch playoff rally.
The Rams did not make a notable attempt to keep Mayfield, letting him sign with the Bucs on a one-year, $4MM deal. They moved to Rypien, whose backup role became solidified after fifth-round pick Stetson Bennett landed on the reserve/NFI list in September. The two-time national champion remains on L.A.’s NFI list. While Rypien remains on the team’s 53-man roster — after the Jets showed interest in poaching him earlier this season — Wentz will move into position to become Stafford’s backup.
While Wentz has his share of critics, he obviously has enjoyed periods of NFL success. He was all but certain to claim MVP honors in 2017, but a December ACL tear scuttled that path. Nick Foles both replaced Wentz and piloted the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title, from the No. 1 seed Wentz led the Eagles to clinch, and then ignited Philadelphia’s 2018 squad after the starter sustained another season-ending injury. Wentz did lead a receiver-thin Eagles team to the playoffs in 2019, but he struggled in 2020, leading he and Doug Pederson out the door. Last season, Wentz threw 11 touchdown passes and nine interceptions, averaging just 6.4 yards per attempt. He went 2-5 as a Commanders starter.
The Rams had the opportunity to draft Wentz seven years ago, but their trade-up maneuver — which occurred before the Eagles’ climb — was for Jared Goff. Wentz’s 2019 Eagles extension also framed the Rams’ ensuing Goff re-up. The Rams have Stafford tied to a four-year, $160MM extension that runs through 2026. The team is believed to have dangled the veteran starter in trades, though scant interest emerged after an injury-plagued 2022. Wentz will at least represent better depth for the Rams, who enter their bye week at 3-6.
Stafford is dealing with a UCL sprain that he suffered in last week’s loss to the Cowboys. Luckily, the Rams have a Week 10 bye, so the 35-year-old passer will have plenty of time to get healthy before the team takes on the division-rival Seahawks in Week 11.
Although the Rams started the season with a somewhat encouraging 3-3 record, they have dropped both of their past two games and are relying on a former UDFA with three career starts to prevent a three-game skid. Stafford, meanwhile, has not rebounded from a disappointing 2022 campaign as Los Angeles had hoped, as he has completed less than 60% of his passes for eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. That adds up to a subpar 82.0 quarterback rating.
Despite going into last week’s trade deadline with a 3-5 mark, the Rams never shopped any of their high-profile players, a list that includes Stafford. Of course, Stafford’s recent on-field performance and injury problems make his contract — which runs through 2026 and includes a fully-guaranteed base salary of $31MM in 2024 — largely untradeable anyway.
Rypien, whom the Broncos signed as a priority UDFA in 2019, made one start for Denver in 2020 and two more last season. He has gone 2-1 in those outings, though he has thrown just four TDs against eight picks in his pro career.
Rypien joined the Rams on a one-year contract in May. He was released as part of roster cutdowns at the end of August and subsequently joined LA’s taxi squad.
Taylor sustained a rib cage injury that knocked him out of last week’s overtime loss to the Jets. Waller is also dealing with some injury trouble concerning his groin and hamstring. Despite the injuries last week, Taylor and Waller led the Giants in passing and receiving, respectively, in the loss, despite only totaling eight yards passing and four yards receiving.
Raanan relayed the report from head coach Brian Daboll, who mentioned that he doesn’t expect either player back any time soon. In fact, the head coach didn’t rule a stint on injured reserve for Taylor or Waller.
Here are a few other injury rumors from around the NFL, starting with a Texans rookie starter:
Houston placed rookie center Jarrett Patterson, who had been forced into the starting lineup due to other injuries along the offensive line, on IR on Tuesday. The specifics of Patterson’s injury weren’t reported at the time, but Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 informed us this week that Patterson suffered a broken fibula. After receiving multiple medical opinions, Patterson will avoid surgery but is still expected to miss six to eight weeks.
On the second to last drive of last week’s loss to Cincinnati, 49ers starting left guard Aaron Banks suffered a foot injury that he wouldn’t report until finishing the game. Per a report by David Bonilla of 49ers Webzone, head coach Kyle Shanahan communicated that he expects Banks to miss a few weeks with a turf toe injury. “Yeah, with turf toe, you never know,” Shanahan said. “So, they told me it should be a few weeks, is what I got here. I know that’s a little vague, but I would say that means at least three weeks.” Luckily for San Francisco, one of those weeks should include the team’s Week 9 bye.
While dealing with a UCL sprain suffered in this past weekend’s loss to Dallas, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has been classified as day-to-day. After testing out the thumb injury on Tuesday, Stafford sat out the remainder of this week’s practices, according to Kevin Patra of NFL Network. Still, head coach Sean McVay reported Stafford will be labeled as questionable heading into the Week 9 and will be a game-time decision to play. If Stafford is unavailable on Sunday, backup quarterback Brett Rypien will make the start. Rypien has gone 2-1 in three starts over his first four years in the league but has thrown twice as many interceptions (8) as touchdowns (4). Either way, Los Angeles will leave Sunday headed towards a bye week, allowing Stafford an extra week of rest to potentially return for Week 11.
The Dolphins are one of the most explosive teams in the NFL and sit tied atop the AFC with a 6-2 record. While Miami has clearly established themselves as a contender, the team remained quiet through the deadline. In fact, head coach MikeMcDaniel told reporters that the Dolphins really didn’t have any trades in the works leading up to the deadline.
This is mostly because of the team’s IR situation, and the Dolphins will soon see a number of talented players return from injury. As McDaniel explained to reporters, those additions should give the Dolphins the boost that they would have been seeking via trade.
“Yeah, we actually have several of the best trades that exist in the works. Ok? You’re talking about getting players with no compensation, or no assets given, from injury. So, I mean, we’re in a great spot,” McDaniels said (via Adam H. Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com).
“I think [GM] Chris [Grier] is always, and will always enter into, you know, whatever conversations that are sought out to him and, you know, that’s that’s a part of his job. He doesn’t labor my mind with, ‘Hey, you know, like NFL gossip, like, hey, I talked to this guy and this guy,’ you know, he, he, he brings it to my attention when we need to discuss it when it, when it’s to a serious platform.
“And he didn’t discuss anything. And that speaks to where we’re at with our football team. We’ve been playing some good football, and then we have some players that are very good players that are returning.”
Following a quiet deadline day, Saints GM MickeyLoomis admitted that he discussed acquiring players for draft assets but never actively shopped any of the players on his roster. “We talked to a couple of teams about a couple of things, more in the acquisition area as opposed to trading somebody,” Loomis said (h/t John Hendrix). “We didn’t really talk about trading anyone from our team. We did talk to a couple teams about an acquisition, but I wouldn’t say it ever got really serious.” The Saints currently sit with a 4-4 record and are tied with the Falcons atop the NFC South.
The Rams have a 3-5 record and are facing some uncertainty at QB, leading some pundits to wonder if they’d be sellers at the deadline. While the team received calls on some veterans, the Rams never shopped any of their star players. According to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic, the Rams didn’t consider moving Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, or Aaron Donald despite the front office potentially having eyes on the 2024 campaign.
Similarly, the Cowboys didn’t initiate any trade talks with teams, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano. The reporter notes that the front office did receive some calls on their defensive depth, but the Cowboys were content sticking with their current squad.
Some details on trades that were actually made: the conditional seventh-round pick that the Cardinals sent to the Vikings alongside QB Joshua Dobbs was a selection that originated with the Falcons, per Howard Balzer. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Brady Henderson notes that the Giants are paying most of the remaining $10MM on Leonard Williams‘ contract, with the Seahawks owing their new player only $647K.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is officially considered day-to-day. Sean McVay revealed Stafford’s status while speaking with reporters today, with the coach also divulging that the veteran suffered a UCL sprain during yesterday’s loss (via ESPN’s Sarah Barshop).
Stafford left yesterday’s eventual loss to the Cowboys in the third quarter after injuring his thumb. The quarterback was later seen on the sideline with tape around his right wrist and thumb. Stafford didn’t end up returning to the game.
While this appears to be a best-case scenario for the quarterback, his short-term status is still in question. Earlier today, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic wrote that the Rams were considering placing Stafford on injured reserve, a move that would sideline the quarterback for at least four games. It’s uncertain if the UCL-sprain diagnosis has changed that thinking.
The team could decide to rest Stafford for next week’s game against the Packers, a decision that the starter would surely fight, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Coupled with the Rams’ Week 10 bye, Stafford would then have two weeks to recover from his injury. Rodrigue notes that the bye week will certainly play into the organization’s impending decision, and the reporter also notes that chilly conditions in Green Bay could also force the Rams to be cautious in Week 9.
Regardless of whether Stafford plays against the Packers, the Rams will surely look to add another quarterback to their roster this week. Brett Rypien, who finished yesterday’s game, is the only other QB on the squad besides Stafford, with rookie fourth-round pick Stetson Bennett still on the non-football/illness list.
September 21st, 2023 at 1:29pm CST by Sam Robinson
Although a report earlier this month indicated the Cowboys and Dak Prescotthad not begun contract negotiations, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe notes conversations occurred “throughout the offseason.” The Cowboys restructured Prescott’s deal in March, creating 2023 cap space but setting up a showdown of sorts in 2024. Because of the redo, Prescott carries what would be a record-shattering $59.5MM cap hit for 2024, the final year of his contract. Prescott, 30, will almost definitely not play on that number; no one has ever played on a cap number north of $45MM.
Because the Cowboys tagged Dak in 2020 and procedurally tagged him in 2021, part of the long-running negotiations that finally produced a deal in March 2021, they do not have a 2025 tag at their disposal. The Cowboys want to gain contract clarity with Prescott, Howe notes (subscription required), with CeeDee Lamb extension-eligible and Micah Parsons eligible in January. But the eighth-year QB will hold tremendous leverage, particularly if he can complete a bounce-back season, once the sides get serious about an extension.
On the subject of the 2022 49ers, the team’s Lance hedge — via the Garoppolo contract reworking just before last season — came about because Garoppolo was still viewed as the better quarterback. The 49ers aimed for Lance — the unquestioned starter going into Week 1 — to pass the veteran after a season’s worth of growth, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes. Lance suffered a fractured ankle in Week 2, requiring two surgeries, and is back on the developmental track in Dallas. The Cowboys have the former No. 3 overall pick stationed as their third-stringer.
In 2021, the Lions were beginning another rebuild — one that soon involved a trade of Matthew Stafford. The 12-year Lions QB had requested a trade before the team made its GM hire, and The Athletic’s Colton Pouncey writes Detroit brass did not inform candidates of the request. The Lions had shot down Stafford trade talk in 2020, but after the veteran passer requested a move as the team reloaded around Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell in January 2021, the thinking changed. Holmes was unfazed by Stafford’s wish to be dealt, per Pouncey. After negotiating with several teams, the Lions collected two first-round picks, a third and current starter Jared Goff in that seminal swap with the Rams.
The Jets debut of quarterback Aaron Rodgers is one of the most-anticipated aspects of the Week 1 slate. As we wait for the future Hall-of-Famer to take the field for the first Monday Night Football game of the season, here are a few Gang Green-related items:
Speaking of Rodgers, his voluntary $35MM pay cut has allowed the Jets to enter the 2023 season with over $20MM in cap space, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. GM Joe Douglas confirmed to reporters, including Cimini, that Rodgers agreed to the reduction in pay with the tacit understanding that the funds will be used to supplement the roster. “It’s almost like an unspoken thing,” Douglas said. “You know if you’re doing this, there’s a reason why he’s doing this. So it’s going to give us great flexibility moving forward.”
Both of the Jets’ top RBs, Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook, will play against the Bills on Monday night, though the team will be “prudent with their usage” (Twitter link via Cimini). Hall, of course, saw his promising rookie campaign cut short by an ACL tear last October, and Cook was just acquired less than a month ago. As the season goes on, the club will rely heavily on both players to support its Rodgers-led passing attack.
The Rams did little to defend their crown in 2022, and Matthew Stafford received plenty of blame for the team’s struggles. The veteran quarterback was only 3-6 in his nine starts, and his season ended in early December after he suffered a spinal cord contusion.
The Rams had a crucial decision to make on the QB this offseason, with the front office having to decide to pick up Stafford’s 2023 option bonus and 2024 salary by the third day of the league year. The Rams ultimately went through with the $60MM commitment, but only after they couldn’t find a taker for the veteran; former NFL general manager Michael Lombardi revealed earlier this month that the Rams tried trading Stafford before the 2023 league year.
The Rams are slightly shifting the narrative with Stafford firmly atop the depth chart for at least the 2023 campaign. As ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk writes, the Rams were “approached by other teams” about Stafford’s availability, but it was ultimately a “unanimous agreement” to keep the veteran under center for at least one more year.
“There was a consistent and unanimous dialogue and understanding,” coach Sean McVay said. “When that March deadline came in terms of him being due the bonus that he’s deserved and that he’s earned, we were all in unanimous agreement that we wanted him to be the quarterback.
“I know I can certainly speak for all of us and say we’re excited as hell about Matthew Stafford. It’s been great to see him feeling good, and I’m certainly really glad he’s our quarterback, and that’s where we’re at.”
Stafford inked a four-year, $160MM deal a bit more than a year ago, and the QB is attached to a $20MM cap hit this season before clocking in at a massive $49.5MM cap hit in 2024. The quarterback indicated that the Rams did approach him about restructuring his contract.
“I don’t know what the technical term of it is,” Stafford said (via Youngmisuk). “But we had conversations on that kind of stuff and I’ll leave it at that.”
It remains to be seen if Stafford will ultimately play for the Rams under that 2024 cap hit, but the team is solely focused on returning to competitive football in 2023. With wide receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive tackle Aaron Donald also back from injuries, the Rams are hoping to drastically improve on their 5-12 record from 2022. Much of their success next season will indeed by tied to Stafford and his health, and the quarterback acknowledged that he’s already feeling much better now than he did coming off the team’s Super Bowl win last year.
“I feel a lot better,” Stafford said. “Physically, I feel really healthy compared to where I was at this point last year, so that’s fun for me. I was able to get the work in that I want to get in coming into this. And that makes it a whole lot more fun for me and just excited to be out here.”