The odds of Matthew Stafford retiring after this season were always super improbable, but the Rams quarterback left no doubt during an appearance on wife Kelly Stafford’s podcast this week: “No.”
Here it is from Matthew himself on retirement: pic.twitter.com/S3hUsHlArR— HoldenCantor (@HoldenCantor) December 20, 2022
Stafford signed a four-year, $160 million extension in March that does more than just imply that he has committed to the L.A. Rams beyond one “run it back” campaign. The Staffords may not be hard up for cash, but giving back dozens of millions in guaranteed dollars right after moving to Los Angeles would be quite a statement. Plus, we never heard anything from Stafford or the Rams that would imply that his neck or head injuries were life or career-threatening, although in this sport protecting those parts of the body is always number one.
Just a quick reminder that Matthew Stafford has 68.5M injury guaranteed reasons not to retire this spring.— Spotrac (@spotrac) December 20, 2022
Here’s what Rams fans really learned on Tuesday morning: There’s no reason for Sean McVay or Aaron Donald to think that this was their last chance at a Super Bowl run.
The franchise quarterback is returning to the franchise in 2023 and he’s going to need all the help he can get, plus more. The formula worked a year ago, not only because of the Super Bowl run, but to the tune of a 12-5 record and the NFC West division title. Stafford, Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp, and Bobby Wagner are all signed for next season, McVay and Les Snead also signed extensions prior to this season.
The Rams have no reason to blow it up and start over. They should also be focusing their 2023 draft capital on getting Matthew Stafford more help—I like the prospect of picking or trading for a receiver—instead of turning their attention to the quarterback class as a fallback plan. Maybe Baker Mayfield will do the right thing for Baker Mayfield and accept a backup role on the Rams next year, giving McVay a younger former number one pick to develop behind Stafford for a couple of seasons.
And Donald, a Pro Bowler for the ninth time in nine years, should also come back. He does have a $15 million roster bonus due in March that should motivate him to go for a 10th Pro Bowl.
At 4-10, the Rams are not what they thought they’d be. With Stafford returning for another year, the Rams could be what they want to be again.