Matthew Stafford

Latest On Rams, Matthew Stafford

Extended weeks after he led the Rams to a Super Bowl LVI victory, Matthew Stafford took a slight discount on his fourth NFL contract. The Rams gave him a four-year, $160MM deal in March 2022. A year later, trade rumors came up after Stafford’s injury-plagued 2022.

Stafford responded with a strong season, drawing his first non-alternate Pro Bowl invite, and led a younger Rams team to a playoff berth. The 16th-year veteran has been connected to wanting guarantees added to his contract, as none are in place beyond 2024. Sean McVay said the Rams have engaged in discussions with their quarterback.

As Stafford angles for more post-2024 security, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes he is not planning to force the issue by missing training camp time. The 36-year-old passer ended last season healthy, after needing to be managed — due to a nagging elbow injury — during the team’s 2022 training camp. Although Stafford certainly has McVay’s offense down by this point, his missing camp time would hinder the development of other players.

In terms of AAV, Stafford’s $40MM has dropped to a tie for 12th in the NFL. Thus far, the $50MM-per-year club — one that now includes Jared Goff — that formed last year does not appear to be an issue for Stafford. Following the Rams’ narrow wild-card loss to the Lions, McVay said Stafford would “100%” be the team’s 2024 starter. But adding some guarantees for 2025 would make it more difficult for the Rams to move on from their signal-caller.

Stafford’s push here also provides a good indication he plans to play a 17th season next year. The topic of retirement has come up at points for the former No. 1 overall pick, though he has brushed off the notion at multiple points. The fourth-year Ram is signed through 2026.

Stafford missing any time in camp would lead to increased reps for Jimmy Garoppolo and Stetson Bennett. The latter has understandably lost momentum after spending his rookie season on the reserve/NFI list. Bennett declined to elaborate why his rookie year featured the September placement on the NFI list, but the two-time national championship-winning passer did confirm he spent last season at home. The Georgia alum did confirm (via ESPN.com’s Sarah Barshop) mental health played a role in his unexpected absence. Bennett, 26, returned for Los Angeles’ offseason program.

Elsewhere on the Rams’ offense, Hunter Long returned to work late in the team’s offseason program, The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue notes. The fourth-year tight end, acquired in the Jalen Ramsey trade, missed the stretch run due to a December MCL tear that required surgery. Long’s health is a bit more important for the team this year, as Tyler Higbee sustained an ACL tear in the playoff game and stands to be a candidate to start the season on the reserve/PUP list. The Rams also added ex-Seahawks contributor Colby Parkinson, giving them some more experience at tight end.

Contract Talks Between Rams, Matthew Stafford Ongoing

During last month’s draft, it was learned Matthew Stafford is seeking a new Rams deal. Two years remain on his existing contract beyond 2024, but his salaries for that span are not guaranteed.

Stafford enjoyed a healthy campaign last year, rebounding from the 2022 season in which he was limited to nine games. He helped the Rams make a somewhat surprising run to the postseason, helping his leverage in contract talks. Head coach Sean McVay recently confirmed the team has been in discussion on a new deal, and that process is still unfolding.

Jourdan Rodrigue of the Athletic reports team and player are still talking in Stafford’s case (subscription required). That comes as little surprise considering McVay’s other remarks with respect to the 36-year-old’s future. Stafford has faced retirement questions in the past, but the team appears poised to keep him atop the depth chart for the foreseeable future. Working out an agreement featuring additional up front money would of course go a long way to ensuring that.

Stafford is currently set to receive salaries of $27MM and $26MM in 2025 and ’26. His cap hits for those seasons are $50.5MM and $49.5MM, though; the latter figure matches his cap charge for 2024. A new deal could lower his burden on Los Angeles’ cap sheet, although term will be a reasonable concern on the team’s part given Stafford’s age. The team has Jimmy Garoppolo as a veteran backup for this year, with 2023 fourth-rounder Stetson Bennett back in place as a developmental passer.

Much of the Rams’ success on offense this season will depend on Stafford’s level of play. Unlike a number of players angling for new deals, he has participated in Los Angeles’ OTAs, and his status will remain worth watching. As Rodrigue notes, the team generally works out contract matters such as this before training camp begins in July. It will be interesting to see if Stafford has a new agreement in place by that point.

Rams RB Kyren Williams To Miss OTAs

Rams running back Kyren Williams broke out in a big way during his sophomore campaign. His impressive season came to an end in the playoffs, when he exited his team’s loss to the Lions with a broken bone in his hand, but now, a “foot issue” is preventing him from participating in Los Angeles’ offseason program, per Sarah Barshop of ESPN.

Williams is no stranger to injury. The Notre Dame product finished third in the NFL in rushing yards last year, behind only Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry, despite missing five games (four on injured reserve with an ankle injury, another resting in the regular season finale) in 2023. Williams led the NFL in rushing yards per game with a mark of 95.3. The surprise offensive asset figures to be an integral part of the Rams’ offense in 2024, as long as his health allows it.

Williams’ stint on IR in 2023 wasn’t his first bout with injury, either. In OTAs before his rookie season, Williams broke his foot. After working his way back from that injury in time to make his rookie debut in Week 1, Williams suffered an ankle injury in his first NFL game that caused him to miss the next seven games of the 2022 season.

Head coach Sean McVay didn’t seem too worried about the 23-year-old’s status. Though he’ll miss the team’s offseason activities, Williams is expected back in time for training camp. “It’s nothing to worry about,” McVay told the media. “He’ll be ready to go for training camp, but there’s a little issue when he was training…But nothing to be concerned about.”

Williams’ absence wasn’t the only notable attendance feature in OTAs. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was in attendance and reportedly taking part in organized team activities, despite the veteran’s current efforts to attain more guaranteed money on his current contract. The 36-year-old passer is one year through a four-year, $160MM deal, but is done earning anymore guarantees ($10MM of his 2025 base salary was guaranteed in March).

There is a benefit on the team’s part to come to a restructured deal, as well. Stafford is set to represent a cap hit of $49.5MM this season, $50.5MM in 2025, and $49.5MM in 2026. A restructured contract could serve dual purposes of both getting Stafford more guaranteed money and also lowering his cap liability in the future.

Sean McVay Addresses Matthew Stafford’s Rams Future; Stetson Bennett Back With Team

Following the first round of the draft, it was learned Matthew Stafford is seeking a revised Rams contract. Specifically, the Super Bowl-winning passer is aiming to receive guarantees beyond the 2024 campaign.

Stafford is currently on the books through 2026, but his base salaries after 2024 are not guaranteed. He is also set to carry sizable cap hits over the remaining term on his deal, and an extension could lower those figures. Rams head coach Sean McVay confirmed the team has been in discussion with the 36-year-old about a new arrangement. His recent stance on the matter suggests a willingness on the part of the team to make a post-2024 commitment.

“We were taking it a year at a time, but as long as he wants to play, we’re fortunate to have him as our quarterback,” McVay said during an appearance on Mad Dog Sports Radio (audio link).

Stafford has faced retirement questions in the past, but he delivered a strong performance in 2023. The former No. 1 pick made posted 3,965 yards and a 24:11 touchdown-to-interception ratio, earning him a Pro Bowl nod. Stafford helped guide the Rams to a surprising playoff appearance, and if healthy he will face considerable expectations for the foreseeable future.

Los Angeles signed Jimmy Garoppolo to serve as an experienced backup, but a renewed investment in Stafford would keep him atop the depth chart past the coming season. Injuries or retirement could change the latter’s situation in a hurry, of course, but a mutual interest between team and player to remain together over a multi-year term could produce an agreement this offseason depending on how negotiations progress.

In other Rams QB news, McVay noted (via ESPN’s Sarah Barshop) that Stetson Bennett returned to the team at the onset of their offseason program. The 2023 fourth-rounder spent his rookie season on the reserve/NFI list, but the team indicated in March he was expected to be back with the team in time for spring workouts. Bennett will aim to lock down the QB3 role this offseason before potentially taking over the backup spot next year. It will be interesting to see if Stafford has a new contract in place by that point.

Rams Spoke With Matthew Stafford About Contract Resolution

Matthew Stafford is seeking guaranteed money beyond the 2024 campaign, and it sounds like the Rams are open to working with their franchise QB on a resolution. While speaking with reporters yesterday, coach Sean McVay acknowledged that the organization has spoken with Stafford about a reworked contract.

[RELATED: Rams’ Matthew Stafford Seeking Post-2024 Guarantees]

“I’ve had good dialogue with Matthew; we’ll keep those things in-house,” McVay said (via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic). “He’s been working with our guys, but we’ll keep those things in-house.”

In addition to speaking with Stafford, McVay also said the team’s decision makers (including himself, GM Les Snead, and vice president of football Tony Pastoors) “have been discussing the situation.”

Stafford is still playing on an $160MM extension he signed with the Rams back in 2022. The front office briefly considered trading the quarterback before locking themselves in to his near-$60MM commitment for the 2023 campaign. While the veteran has flirted with retirement in the past, he seems set to be under center for the Rams in 2024, when he’ll earn a guaranteed $31MM base salary.

Beyond that, it’s a bit murkier. Two years remain on Stafford’s deal beyond the 2024 season, but Stafford’s salaries in 2025 ($27MM) and ’26 ($26MM) are not locked in. His cap hits for those campaigns – as well as the coming one – range between $49.5MM and $50.5MM. If Stafford intends to continue playing beyond the 2024 season, it could make sense for both sides to guarantee more money while reducing the player’s upcoming cap charges.

Beyond the financials, McVay also thinks it’s important to continue showing gratitude for the quarterback who helped guide them to a Super Bowl championship.

“There’s nothing that’s more important than making sure that he feels appreciated and that he knows how much we love him and want him to lead the way,” McVay said, “and I think that commitment that I think he wants to have can be reciprocated. And we want to work toward figuring that out.”

Rams’ Matthew Stafford Seeking Post-2024 Guarantees

The Rams made their first Day 1 draft choice of the Sean McVay era last night, but their selection (edge rusher Jared Verse) did not produce a potential Matthew Stafford successor. The latter is in place as Los Angeles’ starting quarterback for the time being, though he is seeking an adjustment to his contract.

Specifically, Stafford is aiming to secure more guaranteed money beyond the coming season, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports. The 36-year-old is due a $31MM base salary in 2024, all of which is guaranteed. Two years remain on the deal beyond that, but Stafford’s salaries in 2025 ($27MM) and ’26 ($26MM) are not locked in.

Stafford (who has attended the team’s offseason program) inked a $160MM extension in the 2022 offseason, one during which fellow franchise pillars Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp landed raises. One year later, though, the Rams attempted to find a trade partner for Stafford prior to making a near-$60MM commitment for the 2023 season. This past campaign brought about a new round of questions about the two-time Pro Bowler’s future, but McVay has confirmed Stafford will serve as the team’s starter for 2024.

Los Angeles brought in a veteran backup (Jimmy Garoppolo) to occupy the QB2 role, and 2023 draftee Stetson Bennett remains in the organization. The latter could represent an eventual Stafford replacement, especially if injuries become an issue in 2024. Stafford was limited to nine contests in 2023 due to an elbow issue, and he missed a pair of contests last season.

As things stand, the former Lion is due a $5MM roster bonus in mid-March of 2025 and ’26. His cap hits for those campaigns – as well as the coming one – range between $49.5MM and $50.5MM, so a new agreement could be aimed at lowering those figures in addition to providing Stafford security beyond his fourth Rams season. He rebounded from the injury-plagued campaign one year prior in 2023, throwing for 3,965 yards and 26 combined regular and postseason touchdowns.

Still, the Rams have been linked to a quarterback addition at some point during this year’s draft, and a selection relatively early on Day 2 could indicate a willingness to keep Stafford’s contract intact as currently constructed. It will be interesting to see how the team proceeds on this front as the Rams prepare for at least one more season committed to the veteran.

McVay: Matthew Stafford ‘100%’ To Be Rams’ 2024 Starter

While the Rams are eliminated, Matthew Stafford delivered a quality final-game performance to punctuate a comeback season. The 35-year-old quarterback is not planning to retire, and his job will be waiting for him when the Rams reconvene in April.

Sean McVay said Stafford “100 percent, absolutely, unequivocally” will be the Rams’ starter in 2024, per The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue. Considering the season Stafford put together, his status as the starter for a fourth year in Los Angeles no longer appeared to be in doubt. This certainly was not the case last year.

While McVay said the Rams came to a consensus that Stafford would remain the team’s starter — after an injury-plagued 2022 — the team did attempt to trade the veteran quarterback earlier during the 2023 offseason. A nagging elbow injury and a spinal contusion disrupted Stafford’s 2022 season, leading to the worst title defense in the Super Bowl era. But the veteran passer re-emerged this year, playing in 16 of the Rams’ 18 games (he rested in the team’s regular-season finale) and booking his first Pro Bowl nod with the team.

Stafford’s renewed health played the lead role in the Rams’ return to the playoffs. The team had stripped several Super Bowl pieces off its roster last year and ended up relying on numerous rookie-contract pieces. A few of those made substantial contributions to the cause. None more so than Puka Nacua, who formed an instant connection with Stafford en route to breaking Bill Groman‘s 63-year-old record — albeit in three extra games — for receiving yards by a rookie. Stafford finished with a lower completion percentage (62.6) compared to his previous Rams slates, and his 24 touchdown passes paled in comparison to the 41 he tossed during the team’s Super Bowl-winning campaign. But the 15th-year veteran ranked 5th in QBR, landing in the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2014.

The Rams extended Stafford, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp in 2022. Donald’s contract makes 2024 a pivotal year for the team, which will likely adjust Stafford’s deal to avoid a $49.5MM cap charge. Stafford’s $31.9MM 2024 base salary became guaranteed early in 2023; the Rams have their starter tied to a $40MM-per-year deal that runs through 2026. Donald’s landmark contract expires after the ’24 season, and Nacua was in better form than Kupp for most of the ’23 slate. Still, the Super Bowl stars are on their way back to team with a promising rookie class once again.

It is not certain the Rams’ hopeful Stafford backup, Stetson Bennett, will be part of that effort. McVay stopped short of guaranteeing (via ESPN’s Sarah Barshop) Bennett would be back. The Rams placed the two-time national championship-winning QB on the reserve/NFI list in September, and while McVay believed Bennett is “doing better,” the seven-year Rams HC said it was too early to know if the young passer would be ready to be part of the team again. The Rams eyed Bennett as a potential project ahead of the draft.

Additionally, McVay said the Rams are not planning another staff shakeup. The team moved on from several coaches following its five-win 2022 season, but the longtime L.A. leader wants continuity for 2024. The only departures are set to be from teams plucking Rams assistants. That is already happening, with D-line coach Eric Henderson becoming USC’s co-DC. Rams DC Raheem Morris is up for multiple HC jobs, while QBs coach Zac Robinson is a candidate for the Bears and Saints’ OC positions. The Rams have seen frequent turnover during McVay’s successful stay, but the team is planning on keeping as many assistants as it can.

Rams QB Matthew Stafford Expected Back In Week 11

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 QB Matthew Stafford Still Not Contemplating Retirement

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-waived Brett 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.

Rams To Sign QB Carson Wentz

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 Rivera kept 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.