The Los Angeles Rams would not have made the playoffs if not for the heroic efforts of quarterback Matthew Stafford. From Weeks 12-16, Stafford had 14 touchdowns to one interception as the Rams went 7-1 after their bye week. Following the wild card loss in Detroit, the veteran QB said his plan right now was to return for another year in Hollywood.
With Stafford seemingly in the fold ahead of 2024, there’s absolutely no chance LA would entertain moving their QB1 after the season-ending stretch he had, right? Right?!
“Could the Rams be interested if Matthew Stafford retired? Trading Tagovailoa for Stafford would be even better if the right set of circumstances made it feasible.”
Sando was simply spitballing potential team fits for Tua, but I’ll say, big time hell no to this idea. It’s one thing to make a blockbuster trade if Stafford retires, yet the idea of flipping him for Tagovailoa makes zero sense. It would basically be a downgrade at the position which isn’t ideal for a Rams team looking to carry their momentum into next season.
For one, Tua has struggled in the month December the last two years under second-year coach Mike McDaniel. The Alabama product is 3-6 in that span. Excluding the 2022 campaign when Stafford missed the final seven games to injury, he has gone 8-1 in December games in his Rams career.
The only thing Tagovailoa has proven during his brief stay in Miami is that he can’t win a big game in the NFL to save his life.
In EVERY "big game" or meaningful game, Tua Tagovailoa has been objectively awful.— Ryan DePaul (@RyanDePaul) January 16, 2024
Week 17, 2020 to make playoffs: Awful.
Week 17, 2021 to keep playoffs alive: Awful.
Week 17, 2023 to be #1 seed: Awful.
Week 18, 2023 to win AFC East/homefield: Awful.
First playoff game: Awful. pic.twitter.com/GKThjzVcfx
While those numbers don’t paint Tua in the best light, let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment.
Prior to Stafford’s arrival in LA following his 12-year career with the Lions, he was 0-3 in the postseason. It was also believed he couldn’t win a big game and sure enough, he proved doubters wrong by leading the Rams to a Super Bowl in the first year with his new team. Matt finally reached the mountaintop and all it took was a change of scenery.
I’m not at all inferring this would be the case for Tua. He currently has more talent at his disposal than Stafford ever did in Detroit. Still, Tua has underachieved with the Dolphins and that is despite the presence of All-Pro Tyreek Hill and a strong running game. However, Tagovailoa led the NFL in passing for the ‘23 season and has played reasonably well in Miami with McDaniel at the helm.
Tua Tagovailoa’s stats in the last 2 seasons:— ItzLamarSZN (@ItzLamarSZN) January 14, 2024
8,172 yards (4th)
54 TDs (5th)
102.9 passer rating (2nd)
69.3 completion % (5th)
63 win % (4th)
Tua is a franchise QB.#FinsUp #NFL pic.twitter.com/sdDqCYoFDF
Dolphins GM Chris Grier said his goal is for Tua to remain in Miami “long-term” and I hope that’s the case. Not that LA’s front office would seriously entertain a trade, even if they believed Stafford was going to change his mind.
If the Rams traded for the star, it’ll likely cost them several draft picks, not to mention signing him to a monster extension on top of that. Again, this is not the type of player LA needs moving forward. Unless Stafford’s play rapidly falls off a cliff, he is far and away the more elite quarterback option for Los Angeles.
Perhaps if LA’s QB1 retires within the next couple seasons and Tua Tagovailoa improves his game, maybe then I’d entertain a trade. Until then, Matthew Stafford is my guy until proven otherwise.