If you didn’t get enough out of your Matthew Stafford trade rumors from March, then simply bring them back again in July when the greater NFL media has little else to talk about? That was the case for Michael Lombardi last week, as he went on The Pat McAfee Show to repeat what he said in March, which is that the Los Angeles Rams desperately tried to trade Stafford but couldn’t get over the $59 million hump on his contract.
Lombardi was alone in reporting that the Rams “would love to trade Matthew Stafford” four months ago and there still hasn’t been a single NFL insider who has come forward to repeat those claims. Not Adam Schefter or Ian Rapoport or Mike Garafolo or Tom Pelissero or anyone else that I know of. Nobody except Michael Lombardi, who told McAfee this week that “any team could’ve had (Stafford)”, re-stirring up the same rumor he started on the McAfee show in March.
Video: "Before his option bonus was kicking in the Rams attempted with a lot of effort to move Matthew Stafford."— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) July 8, 2023
"Any team could've had him."pic.twitter.com/Q8XJoRWUQh
Lombardi could have a source who is telling him this is true, and for all we know, it could be true. But it’s not a great sign for Lombardi that he’s alone on this hill and we have to separate rumors from speculation. Lombardi is saying this is a real rumor and not speculation. But the evidence does seem far more circumstantial so far—that the Rams might choose to have a conservative approach to their future and try to recoup some cap space and future draft value—than it is tangible.
I wrote months ago that once the NFL media got bored in the middle of the offseason that soon enough they would come for the unusual circumstances of the 2023 Los Angeles Rams and stir up trade rumors around their big three remaining stars. Sure enough, I think that’s where we are at and with 16 days left until the Rams report to training camp, there won’t be much else to talk about other than rumors.
Interestingly, the two biggest names on the open market now are not trade options like they were last year with Baker Mayfield or two years ago with Deshaun Watson, but instead free agents: DeAndre Hopkins and Dalvin Cook remain unsigned.
NFL rosters could have some significant updates in July and August, whether that be through a signing or a trade. But as of now, we only have speculation. The rumor mongering of the likes of Josina Anderson and Jordan Schultz has been relatively quiet compared to year’s past, so instead we’re left with Michael Lombardi.