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Mike Florio calls Rams COO a liar on Matthew Stafford comments: ‘Bullcrap!’

When it comes to cutting or trading Stafford, Florio doesn’t believe Kevin Demoff

NFL: SEP 08 Bills at Rams Photo by Icon Sportswire

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk says that Kevin Demoff has lied in the past about the Rams when it suited the organization and that the team’s COO is doing it again with this week’s comments on Matthew Stafford rumors.

On ProFootballTalk on Wednesday, Florio calls back to comments made by Demoff prior to the team’s move in 2016 from St. Louis to Los Angeles, saying that the COO “lied” back then and that he could be doing it again with his appearance on the 11 Personnel podcast this week. Florio says that all NFL executives “lie when they need to” and that Demoff must need to say certain things after an offseason of trade rumors and speculation in order to make sure that the Rams organization doesn’t look bad.

Florio believes that Demoff’s comments that the team could have cut Stafford without paying him his guarantee is “bullcrap” and that L.A. had no other choice but to pay the quarterback rather than take a hit from fans and media for cutting ties with him so soon after trading so much to get him and paying him on a new contract in 2022.

“The thing that Demoff said that really caused me to say that this is BS: ‘The part that frustrates me is this notion that we were trying to get away with the $59 million and the only way to do it was through trade. That tells me that you didn’t have an understanding of the situation. Matthew’s money after 2022 wasn’t guaranteed, we could have walked away this year free and clear for nothing, no future money owed. So there was no need to restructure, if we wanted out of Matthew’s deal, we could have just walked away. We didn’t have to trade him to relieve the %8.5 million, we could have walked away. To me, that’s where there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what his deal was, that drives the narrative we were desperately trying to get rid of him.’

Bullcrap, Kevin,” says Florio.

“Bullcrap. Sorry, all due respect, bullcrap. You’re going to walk away from Stafford’s contract after one year, two years after giving up all that stuff to get him? You weren’t going to walk away with nothing. That doesn’t look good. That looks horrible to the casual fans that you’re trying to court into L.A.. It looks bad for the organization. It looks like you screwed up.”

Essentially what Florio is saying is that the Rams traded two first round picks, a third round pick, and Jared Goff in a deal for Stafford in 2021, then won the Super Bowl, then gave him a new $160 million contract with $63 million guaranteed in 2022, so Demoff’s premise that the team “could have cut him” if they wanted to doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. That it would look bad for the organization to admit a mistake and pay Stafford $63 million to play zero years on his new deal. Florio says that the situation with Goff was different because they got Stafford back at that time of giving up on that contract before it started.

“They couldn’t have walked away from Jared Goff, but they specifically targeted Goff’s replacement in Stafford that they could tuck Goff into the trade package and not make it obvious they were giving up a first to get rid of his contract. They’re very concerned about appearances. It’s LA, it’s Hollywood. It would have been a horrible appearance if the Rams would have, after the 2023 (sic) season, just ripped up the contract of Stafford.”

“This idea that they would have considered, seriously, tearing up the contract. That is bologna, folks. Don’t buy that for a second. If you don’t believe me, listen to the folks in St. Louis who got lied to by Demoff. They weren’t going to walk away from Matthew Stafford. If you trade him or cut him you’re looking at significant cap charges. If they had traded him before June 1, it would have been a $50 million cap charge. Dead money. The Falcons did it with $40 million with Matt Ryan in 2022. The Rams were looking at $50 million in debt money, but would have gotten them away from $57 million guaranteed.”

Florio says he is inclined to believe Colin Cowherd’s report that the Rams asked Stafford to give up guaranteed money and that the franchise was frustrated that he didn’t do it, but that Stafford had no reason to give up money.

“They were looking for a path out of the Stafford contract. I believe that.”

Finally, Florio says that the Rams probably wanted the Aaron Rodgers trade to fall through so that they could squeeze Stafford to the Jets when they got desperate, but New York and the Packers completed that deal.

As we wrote this week, the biggest problem with Demoff’s comments on Stafford is that they don’t actually address the real rumors. Demoff said that the team didn’t consider “restructuring” Stafford, but he never said anything about “re-negotiation” which is actually a huge distinction. “Restructure” is a very specific type of contract language and was essentially impossible with Stafford to begin with. He also did not address the fact that cutting or trading Stafford would have created a huge financial problem for the team in 2023, and that the Rams have more possibilities with the contract now than they did prior to June 1st.

Whether Stafford was asked to actually take a pay cut was not actually addressed by Demoff on the podcast. I don’t know if he lied, but he definitely chose his words carefully.