The Los Angeles Rams are reportedly open to trading quarterback Matthew Stafford, according to one NFL insider on Thursday. Is it time to officially declare the 2023 offseason as a “rebuilding year” for the Rams?
According to Michael Lombardi, Jalen Ramsey and Leonard Floyd may not be the only big names that the Rams are trying to trade. In an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Thursday, Lombardi made waves by saying that the Rams “would love to trade” Stafford and that they’re actively calling other teams.
“Oh Matt Stafford is fully available. Matt Stafford, they’re trying to trade, they would love to trade him, but they can’t do it because he’s got $57M guaranteed...His contract, he’s got I think $26M of an option bonus on the third day of the league year and he’s got $31M in paragraph five on the third day of the league year. All of that is guaranteed. When I say guaranteed, that’s for skill and injury. It doesn’t matter if he can’t play or not. He’s got $57M coming to him no matter what. What are the Rams going to do? They’re trying to get out from it. I don’t want to hear the BS that, ‘we’re not trying to trade him.’ Yes you are! You’ve called team. I know this. I don’t care what they say. They all lie about it.”
On the latest episode of 11 Personnel following the NFL Combine, The Atheltic’s Jourdan Rodrigue said that other teams have called on Matthew Stafford’s availability. Lombardi’s report meanwhile implies that it’s been the other way around.
From the Rams standpoint, it would be very difficult to trade Stafford. As Lombardi said, he has a lot of guaranteed money and they would take $54M in dead cap according to OverTheCap. However, if L.A. was able to wait to trade Stafford until after June 1, the ability to spread the dead money over two years would help ease the transition considerably. Going back to 2016, Sam Bradford was traded from the Eagles to the Vikings for a first round pick in September after the devastating injury to Teddy Bridgewater. Could the Rams be letting teams know that Stafford will be available later on, just in case there’s an injury to their current starter or if they miss out on one in the draft?
The team trading for Stafford shouldn’t have to take on a massive amount of salary, although his $31 million base salary in 2024 is fully guaranteed. That’s a problem given that there are questions about Stafford’s health and potential retirement plans. Would the Rams be willing to trade a pick with Stafford, similar in the Jared Goff deal to acquire Stafford in 2021, just to get his $31 million salary off of the books for 2024?
There are a lot of questions surrounding how a Matthew Stafford trade would even work, but it’s not hard to imagine why now. If the Rams don’t believe in their ability to get back to the playoffs in 2023, what’s the point of putting Stafford out there again, especially behind one of the worst offensive lines? It’s only a matter of finding out which team is willing to take that risk and how L.A. is planning to afford the move.
If one thing is for certain, it’s not going to be a quiet offseason for the Rams. Is it ever?