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Cowherd: Rams wanted Matthew Stafford to re-do deal and he refused

L.A. was reportedly “frustrated” with Stafford for not budging on his contract

Los Angeles Rams defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 to win the NFL Super Bowl LVI football game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

On his radio show ‘The Herd’ this week, Colin Cowherd said that sources told him that the Los Angeles Rams tried to “re-do” Matthew Stafford’s contract earlier this year but that the Super Bowl-winning quarterback refused to budge. If true, this news could have had a significant impact for a number of key moves in the past, like trading Jalen Ramsey, as well as in the future, like how the Rams plan to operate as they enter their most uncertain season in years.

“I was told by a source I trust that they wanted to re-do his contract, he wasn’t interested, it limits what they can do and they were frustrated with him,” said Cowherd to guest Albert Breer. “And I could also see them next year taking a quarterback (in the draft).”

Breer replied that from what he’s heard, the L.A. Rams didn’t necessarily “shop” Matthew Stafford on the trade market but that they were exploring all possibilities to address critical salary cap problems in 2023 and 2024.

The Rams gave Stafford a four-year, $160 million contract in 2022 after winning the Super Bowl. The team traded Ramsey in March after they knew that it wouldn’t be possible to give him the guarantees that he wanted added to his deal, contract moves that the Miami Dolphins were willing and able to do at this time. L.A. has been almost completely out of the free agent market this year, lost an inordinate amount of free agents, cut players like Bobby Wagner, and only completed signing their rookie draft class as of Friday.

To be clear, the Rams did not ask to “restructure” Stafford’s contract. They wouldn’t even need to get his permission to do that. A restructure is pushing salary cap commitments into the future by turning base salary into bonus money. Even if they wanted to, Stafford’s deal creates no 2023 cap space because of a restructure. According to Cowherd, they asked Stafford to “re-do” his deal, which could mean a number of things including taking a pay cut.

Stafford has a relatively cheap $20 million salary cap hit in 2023 because of how his deal is structured, but his contract also makes it impossible to release him either this year or next year. Trading Stafford before the deadline, which Breer says is not impossible depending on the circumstances by then, would save a small amount of money now but eat into L.A.’s salary cap for 2024. Stafford’s salary cap hit goes up to $49.5 million next season and $50.5 million in 2025.