LA Rams sign former Steelers QB Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges to futures contract
By Bret Stuter
If you were waiting for the LA Rams to sign an NFL veteran quarterback, your wait is over. If you were eager for the Rams to move to a marquis name among NFL quarterbacks, you will still be waiting a bit longer. It was Devlin Hodges, the Pittsburgh Steelers former backup quarterback, who announced that he has been signed to play for the LA Rams. So let’s pull apart this headliner to see what it all means?
Quarterback Devlin Hodges (a.k.a. ‘The Duck’) will join Bryce Perkins as a player signed to a reserve/futures contract. If you haven’t followed the off-season, that is the off-season equivalent to a practice squad. These players are sought to return to the Rams to compete for a chance to earn a spot on the team’s active 53-man roster, or at the least make the team’s practice squad and continue to develop NFL skills, strength, agility, and endurance.
Hodges was signed as an undrafted free agent quarterback by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019. While undrafted, he certainly had a good reputation from Samford University, good enough to be featured as one of the five hidden gems in the 2019 draft class. Hodges, like Perkins and backup quarterback John Wolford, is a mobile dual-threat quarterback.
Hodges was not invited to the 2019 Senior Bowl or 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. But his senior year resulted in 4,365 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions tossed in his senior season were enough to attract interest. He also added 90 rushes for 313 yards and eight touchdowns. He was even a punter for the team.
Hodges started six games for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019, winning three. He actually saw action in eight games that season and helped the Steelers win four. For his one and only NFL season, he threw 100 of 160 passes for 1,063 yards, five touchdowns, and eight interceptions for a 62.5 percent completion rate. He also rushed 21 times for 68 yards and was sacked 15 times at a loss of 102 yards.
Devlin becomes the third mobile dual-threat quarterback added to the team’s roster. While it’s very unlikely that he will see action in 2021, the Rams have now made it quite clear that they are more interested in adding mobility to the quarterback position than expected.
QB depth chart
The Rams depth chart remains with pocket passer Jared Goff as the starter. But now the Rams have three mobile quarterbacks: John Wolford, Bryce Perkins, and now Devin Hodges, competing to serve as the team’s backup. And for argument’s sake, Hodges truly has far more NFL experience than either Wolford or Perkins combined.
Does this add ‘quarterback competition’ to the Rams roster? Unlikely. But it does lay a foundation for the Rams to add a mobile quarterback either via trade or free-agent signing. And it’s very likely that the teams will lean towards a mobile quarterback should they choose to do so.
Does Hodges offer competition for starting quarterback Jared Goff? Unlikely. But if the Rams draft a mobile quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft, Hodges offers an ideal veteran ‘place holder’ to lead the team until the rookie has earned the right to start. This certainly hasn’t added any controversy to the Rams. But it does position the Rams to make a huge move in the NFL Draft.