As far back as last December, at least, Matthew Stafford has insisted that he is not retiring in 2023. The rumors come up and to his credit, Stafford has answered to them when he really doesn’t have to do that. I don’t think it would be responsible to take a rumor about Stafford and then to totally discount that he himself has said that it’s not true. It would also be irresponsible to ignore rumors that could be credible, especially given that what Stafford said three months ago could still change as more time passes.
When it’s concerning health, his arm, his age, and his safety, retirement rumors are difficult to ignore until the proof is in practice. Those rumors are back again on Monday, as NBC’s Matthew Berry reported this week that at least one source at the combine thinks that retirement remains on the table for the L.A. Rams quarterback:
Asking about Matthew Stafford, I was told “The guy could barely throw last year. Retirement is still not out of the question.”
Stafford, 35, was carefully managed in offseason workouts last summer and in training camp, with backup John Wolford taking many reps in practices. That could have led to Stafford’s poor season after returning with the starters: 10 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 6.9 Y/A, 87.4 passer rating over nine games.
Stafford missed eight games, had multiple concussion scares, and the team decided to shut him down when the season was all but lost.
Stafford reiterated in January that he will be ready to go in 2023. The fact that the team is reportedly looking to trade Jalen Ramsey, in addition to parting with Bobby Wagner, Leonard Floyd, and Allen Robinson, suggests that the Rams are open to all sorts of outcomes in 2023. It’s almost as if Stafford will be reminded of his time with the Lions...ahem.
At a $20 million cap hit, Stafford is relatively cheap in 2023, but that number jumps to $49.5 million in 2024. He was recently guaranteed his full $31 million base salary for 2024, meaning that number is going to hurt the Rams...unless he retires and gives it up.
Some say that option is not off the table.