The Rams have their 2023 starter in Matthew Stafford, but they found in 2022 that they did not have a contingency plan when Stafford missed time. John Wolford started three games (1-2) and passed for 390 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Bryce Perkins was not any more efficient. In his limited playing time (five games), his completion percentage was 55.9%. He tossed one touchdown compared to two interceptions.
The Rams were able to bring Baker Mayfield to LA after he was released by the Carolina Panthers. While he was an improvement, he was hot and cold. Granted, Mayfield did not have the same type of time to absorb the playbook like Wolford and Perkins. In four starts (five games), Mayfield went 1-3, even though he led the Rams game winning drive against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14.
Clearly the Rams need to establish who will back up Matthew Stafford next year. Baker Mayfield is a viable option, but the team does not have a lot of cap space to splurge on such a need. It is still a massively important need.
The 2023 NFL free agency will begin on March 15th, with the legal tampering period beginning March 13th, and the Los Angeles Rams will have to decide what type of participant they will be in the annual frenzy.
Will Los Angeles move money around to sign unrestricted free agents, filling multiple areas of need? Will they make one splash signing? Or will they sit tight and “pay off their debt” from years past?
Going through each key position group, we’ll look at five notable free agents in each who the Rams could target for 2023, starting with the quarterbacks.
1. Baker Mayfield (UFA, 2022 team: Los Angeles Rams)
Case for: Mayfield arrived late to Rams last year because he was waived by Carolina. He didn’t get a chance to build up his value in five games. If he doesn’t get a starting job from a quarterback needy team, then he may want to consider taking a small salary to return to Los Angeles in order to work with Sean McVay for a full offseason.
2. Gardner Minshew (UFA, 2022 team: Philadelphia Eagles)
Case for: Minshew may not have a great career quarterback record (8-16), but his stats are encouraging. He has thrown for 6,632 yards, 44 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. The majority of those numbers came from a weak Jacksonville Jaguars team (2019 - 2020).
3. Mike White (UFA, 2022 team: New York Jets)
Case for: White to LA is pretty straightforward. The Rams hired Mike LaFleur this offseason to be their offensive coordinator after a stint with the New York Jets. Going with White would give him familiarity, but also a quarterback whisperer in Sean McVay.
4. C.J. Beathard (UFA, 2022 team: Jacksonville Jaguars)
Case for: Beathard improved over a three year stint with the San Francisco 49ers from 2017-2020. He did not see the field a lot with Jacksonville in 2021 and 2022, which may hurt his stock. However, the quarterback has worked with Kyle Shanahan and could prove to be a viable asset since Mike LaFleur is now the offensive coordinator for the LA Rams.
5. Jeff Driskel (UFA, 2022 team: Houston Texans)
Case for: Driskel is definitely in a class or two below the other four names. But if the Rams cannot get their hands on any of the four names above, then they will still need to add an upgrade over Wolford and Perkins. Driskel offers more as a passer and receives my vote.
*Names not included because of salary cap purposes*
- Jimmy Garoppolo
- Taylor Heinieke
- Sam Darnold
- Cooper Rush
- Jacoby Brissett
Which backup would you sign to be Stafford’s backup?
This poll is closed