If Rams didn’t have Stafford, would they be frontrunners for Rodgers?

Joel Simons
Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

In a somewhat surprising off-season story, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has made it clear he wants to play football for a new team. On his list of preferred destinations are the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, and the Denver Broncos. Where are the LA Rams on that list? Well, they are noticeably absent because the Rams pulled the trigger on trading for Matthew Stafford.

Perhaps he wants to be closer to where he grew up, closer to his new fiancée, or wants to increase his opportunities to work in showbiz, as he recently was the interim guest host of ‘Jeopardy!’. Or maybe he thinks his ratio of MVPs (3) to Super Bowl appearances (1) is the Packers’ organization’s fault. Although there is plenty of speculation, as of now there is no obvious reason for Rodgers wanting out.

Since ‘Jeopardy!’ is filmed in Culver City, a neighborhood in West Los Angeles, the showbiz rumor made me wonder if the LA Rams would’ve been on his list if they hadn’t traded for QB Matthew Stafford. Due to the Rams having a top-tier defense, a pass-friendly offensive line, a plethora of weapons, and a highly regarded offensive coach, it could’ve been the perfect situation for Rodgers to step into. In fact, the new potent Packers offense is a clear derivative of the one run by the LA Rams.

In the Stafford trade, the Rams gave up two future first-round picks, a third-round pick, and QB Jared Goff. This package sent back to the Lions was hefty, but the Packers are rumored to want a lot more for Rodgers. It’s hard to say what exactly the Packers will get back if they do trade him, but I am comfortable saying the Rams would’ve had to give up another first-round pick and another player, perhaps an All-Pro on the level of defensive back Jalen Ramsey.

Even though the Rams are obviously in championship contention mode this year, there’s a good chance Rams management is expecting Stafford to be under center for the next five years. At 37 years old, Rodgers has a smaller window, and there’s no way you could expect as many quality years from him. So his age, factored in with his asking price makes any Rodgers trade riskier (so be careful, Denver).

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Thinking about the reigning MVP on the roster is definitely tantalizing, but the Rams should be excited with who they have under center. The Rams roster would be completely different if they tried to meet the Packers’ asking price and under much more pressure to win instantly.  This is the best team Stafford has ever had to work with, and like Rodgers, has enough talent to lift the offense to new heights, and to compete for a Super Bowl for the foreseeable future.