Just a year after they won the Super Bowl, the Los Angeles Rams are rapidly selling off parts. They’re reportedly open to trading away Jalen Ramsey and Allen Robinson. They’ve already announced they will cut Bobby Wagner, and Leonard Floyd may be next.
But this latest rumor, via former NFL general manager Michael Lombardia on the “Pat McAfee Show,” is a doozy. Lombardi says the Rams have called teams in an attempt to trade quarterback Matthew Stafford.
“Matt Stafford is fully available,” Lombardi said. “Matt Stafford, they would love to trade (him).”
On the surface, this makes some sense. Stafford wanted out of Detroit because the Lions were going through a rebuild and he wanted his shot at a title. And even though Stafford has the Super Bowl ring, he’s probably not thrilled about being a part of a Rams team that is currently stripping down its own parts. Stafford is 35 years old now, and the body has gone through even more injuries than he incurred in his 12 years with the Lions. That said, Stafford has maintained he does not want to retire. He plans to play in 2023. Although retirement rumors still persist.
The Rams, too, likely want to get out of his bulky contract, which only hits $20 million against the cap, but that soon balloons to $49.5 million in 2024 and $36 million the year after that.
There’s only one problem to this rumor: the way Stafford’s contract is structured makes a trade very unlikely. As Lombardi explains:
“He’s got $26 million of an option bonus on the third day of the league year, and he’s got $31 million in (2024) paragraph five (salary) on the third day of the league year. All of that is guaranteed. That’s $57 million.”
If the Rams don’t move Stafford before that third day and have the trade partner agree to pick up that option bonus, then what would’ve been a $49.5 million hit in dead cap turns into a $74 million in dead cap if they still end up trading him or cutting him.
In other words, it seems unlikely a trade actually happens. Still, Lombardi insists this has gone beyond rumors. The Rams have picked up the phone.
“They’re trying to get out from it. I don’t really want to hear the bullshit that, ‘Oh, we’re not trying to trade him.’ Yes you are. You’ve called teams. I know this.”
That would be quite a turn of events for Stafford and the Rams just two years after completing the blockbuster trade with the Detroit Lions.
UPDATE: Rams GM Les Snead indirectly shot down these rumors on Thursday:
“We’re going to definitely rely on Matthew, he’s definitely one of our pillars.” - Les Snead addressing Rams QB situation today with us. “He’s definitely someone we’re going to rely on … as we remodel this.” Says he says remodel bc they aren’t “bulldozing house down.”— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) March 9, 2023