With Matthew Stafford Reportedly On The Trade Block, The Los Angeles Rams Appear To Be In Full Fire Sale Mode
As someone who fancies himself pretty savvy when it comes to the NFL salary cap, I have no earthly idea how the hell the Los Angeles Rams can expect to trade Matthew Stafford any time soon. Why you wouldn't ride out one more season with him is beyond me. The guy won you a damn Super Bowl, making the key conversion of that game on a no-look pass!
The Rams got ransacked by injuries early in the 2022 campaign and never recovered. Now they seem like they're throwing in the towel and ready to reboot this thing more abruptly than the DC Universe.
Mike Lombardi points this out: According to OverTheCap.com, if LA trades Stafford prior to June 1, it will cost them $54 million against the 2023 salary cap. As of this writing, they'd go from over $16 million in the red to north of $70 MILLION.
Lombardi is full of conviction about what he's saying and is a former NFL executive, so he's got to be plugged in and have credible sources. He doesn't strike me as someone who floats speculation-driven, unfounded reports out there for kicks.
If Stafford were to get traded, of course his current contract would somehow have to be reworked. I suppose it's not impossible. Just seems unnecessary, callous and reckless to be honest. A post-June 1 release or trade makes wayyyyyyy more sense.
Funnily enough, I was running through all sorts of wild trade scenarios and mock drafts earlier today to try to salvage something for this team amid a full-blown clearance sale. My latest attempt featured trading Allen Robinson, Van Jefferson (contract year), Jalen Ramsey and Cam Akers away, with Brandin Cooks and Derrick Henry coming aboard along with a massive 2023 draft class.
THAT was operating on the premise that the Rams actually want to be competitive in the next season or two. Trading Stafford outright would be salary cap self-sabotage the likes of which NFL history has never seen. In a word: Fuckingstupid.
Provided he can come back healthy and not play behind a decimated offensive line, there's plenty of reason to believe Stafford still has at least a couple quality years left in him. By all accounts, his relationship with Sean McVay is quite good and definitely several rungs above wherever it wound up with Jared Goff.
Unless this is a transparent tank job for USC Heisman-winning quarterback Caleb Williams, I'm fully stumped and dumbfounded by this information even beginning to make the rounds. To pay a signal-caller like Stafford all that guaranteed cash and then for him not to play for you, in an NFC that lacks high-end QB play? Seems like you'd want more out of the investment you made in that first Stafford deal to bring him to LA.
You have to wonder what Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp are thinking about all this. Watching pretty much every other key piece of the Rams' current core be dangled as trade bait. McVay flirting with retirement. Staring down the barrel of a complete roster blowup and a cellar-dwelling 2023. Part of me hopes the Rams go full Moneyball and trade Donald and Kupp.
I realize Baker Mayfield came in and played quite well late last season. It's just that…you can't honestly say your plan is to re-sign him to a bargain-bin contract in free agency. Whatever your qualms, reservations or doubts about their passion are, Rams fans aren't going to be all about that life.
IDK maybe it's a 4D chess play to get Caleb Williams and you eat the disgust of one, terrible losing season to raise the long-term ceiling of your organization. On the heels of so many damn years going balls-to-the-wall-all-in, it's shocking to see the Rams lack conviction in so many of their own splashy moves and begin to raise the white flag even before the new league year officially starts.