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Rams 2023 QB options: Free agents, trade options, and draft prospects

Who could be best suited to backup Matthew Stafford?

Washington Commanders v Houston Texans Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams should have done a better job of adding a backup quarterback than throwing John Wolford and Bryce Perkins behind Matthew Stafford for the second year in a row. No, the chances of an NFL team having a backup quarterback who is as good as the regular starters are not high, but consider how important good backups have been this year.

Names like Jimmy Garoppolo, Colt McCoy, Cooper Rush, Taylor Heinicke, P.J. Walker, and Mike White have helped plugged leaks or even been upgrades to the starter (of course, Jimmy’s situation is unique), while Geno Smith has gone from a career backup to being a decent player in his own right.

And the Rams could have signed Geno Smith. He was on the market for a month until finally returning to the Seattle Seahawks on a one-year deal worth up to $3.5 million, meaning he’s not in the top-50 for salary at the position. Not only would an offer have given the Rams a better backup quarterback, it would have forced Seattle to go another route... although that is not something we knew at the time could be important.

However, we did probably know that Wolford and Perkins should not be starting NFL games.

Next year, the Rams have to be better prepared for the potential loss of Stafford. These options could be available.

Free Agents


Sam Darnold, Panthers

Daniel Jones, Giants

Baker Mayfield, Panthers

Drew Lock, Seahawks

Mike White, Jets

Kyle Allen, Texans

Gardner Minshew, Eagles

For the time being, White is the Jets starter. But we saw this story last season too and White was eventually placed behind Zach Wilson and Joe Flacco again. If White plays well the rest of the year, maybe New York makes Wilson available. If not, White could be a good backup option for the Rams next year.

Though Daniel Jones is winning football games, I’m not sure he’s earned a starting gig for 2023 yet. With 10 touchdowns in 11 games, the Giants may have to even consider benching him during the season, just as the Jets did with Wilson.

Mayfield and Darnold have all but proven they can’t start in the NFL, but they could be good backup options and maybe with better coaching could be serviceable. Minshew, Allen, and Lock should have less competition for their services and yet they could be better than the former first rounders. Lamar Jackson is also set to be a free agent, but he’s not going to go to the Rams.


Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

Teddy Bridgewater, Dolphins

Jacoby Brissett, Browns

Joe Flacco, Jets

Case Keenum, Bills

Geno Smith, Seahawks

Taylor Heinicke, Commanders

Blaine Gabbert, Bucs

Chase Daniel, Chargers

Chad Henne, Chiefs

Cooper Rush, Cowboys

Garoppolo didn’t have any suitors this year and now he’s somehow worked his way back to the top of the available 2023 free agent options. Even though, isn’t this the same story as always? The 49ers have a great defense and supporting cast, Garoppolo is there for the ride. Still, we have to expect that at worse he’s going to go somewhere he can compete to start. Not L.A..

Getting someone like Brissett, who is making $4.65 million this season, would have been a huge get for the Rams. It didn’t happen.

The Rams have to do better with their reserve options in 2023. Tom Brady is a free agent too, but I don’t expect him to come to the Rams either. That would be quite a story though, wouldn’t it!

Other free agents: Mason Rudolph, C.J. Beathard, Nick Mullens, Brandon Allen, Josh Dobbs, Nate Sudfeld, Trace McSorley, Jarrett Stidham, Easton Stick

Trade/Release Options

Matt Ryan, Colts

Marcus Mariota, Falcons

Mitch Trubisky, Steelers

Nick Foles, Colts

Jordan Love, Packers

Ryan Tannehill, Titans

Jameis Winston, Saints

Jared Goff, Lions

Carson Wentz, Commanders

Kyle Trask, Bucs

Kellen Mond, Browns

Davis Mills, Texans

Sam Ehlinger, Colts

There’s no question that Aaron Rodgers’ future is in doubt, but I’d expect Green Bay to stay the course with him. And Love.

Tannehill may be playing himself back into a reserve role, same as Winston, Mariota, and Trubisky. Goff is not Detroit’s quarterback of the future, although a return to the Rams is unlikely despite how awesome that story would be for my Rams content.

Perhaps swinging a sixth round pick for a player like Mills would be a worthy sacrifice to upgrade the position with both youth and experience. Houston is all but set to draft a quarterback first overall and Mills has been benched for Kyle Allen anyway.


The Rams could be picking as high as second in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, which would be 33rd overall. That’s high enough to think that not only could Les Snead draft a decent QB prospect, he could also trade up for a better one.

Right now there is no such thing as “consensus” on the rankings of the 2023 QB prospects. Whether C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, or Anthony Richardson would be available into the teens or twenties is anybody’s guess. Levis and Richardson have interesting physical builds and abilities, but they’ve played quite poorly at the college level. My only belief is that Bryce Young is the best quarterback prospect, but others are concerned about his size.

Despite Stafford’s four-year contract extension that hasn’t started yet, drafting a quarterback with their first pick could still be what’s best for the Rams. Having to rely on either of their undrafted free agents to man the ship without Stafford has not been good for the Rams.