The LA Rams are doing as much of a 'do-over,' that is financially feasible for the team, with only the recent extensions of quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Cooper Kupp, and defensive lineman Aaron Donald have such a negative impact on the team's salary cap in 2023 no matter how the team tries to navigate them, that it's simply far cheaper to just sit and let those contracts play out for this season.
But there will come a point in time when Stafford will decide to hang up his cleats and retire. When that moment arrives, how will the Rams organization handle it? Well, from the perspective of the current Rams roster, not very well. You see, the Rams quarterback room is currently filled by Matthew Stafford.
That's it. Matthew Stafford is the entirety of the LA Rams quarterback resources at the moment. That's problematic for two reasons. On one hand, it means that the Rams haven't a reliable backup to their starting quarterback should anything ill-fated befall him this season. It also places a lot of pressure upon the LA Rams front office to wisely select quarterbacks who can help the Rams depth this season.
The clock is ticking for the Rams roster at the quarterback position, but when will the alarm go off?
If you look at the LA Rams contract with starting quarterback Matthew Stafford, you will note that the terms negotiated in that agreement allow for the team to void the final year, 2026, which will mean that three years remain on the current contract. Will the team honor all three seasons? Will Stafford want to compete through the 2025 NFL season? I'm less than 50 percent confident that the team will take three more years at Stafford's price.
Perhaps, but I would be mildly surprised.
I'm more inclined to believe that the LA Rams are aiming through the end of the 2024 NFL season with Matthew Stafford as the presumed starting quarterback, and then planning to land his heir-apparent quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft to learn from him and take over the reins in 2025. That also incentivizes the team not to emphasize winning this year, as the first round pick owned in the 2024 NFL Draft could already be earmarked for a quarterback.
From the moment the LA Rams traded a young quarterback in Jared Goff for a seasoned NFL quarterback like Stafford, the Rams think-tank had to also envision what that would mean to the team in terms of quarterback succession planning. I think I'm most comfortable believing that Stafford leads the team for two seasons. At the end, just like Bobby Wagner or Jalen Ramsey, if he wants to continue competing in the NFL, he may be doing so on another team.
While I'm all but certain that the LA Rams see more of a future with Stafford under center than one more NFL season, the possibility exists that if the offensive line cannot protect the guy, injuries and the medical problems that being hammered like a plinko ball will accumulate and could force both the player and the team to opt for a new plan at the end of the season.
Should that be the case, then the LA Rams may turn to a veteran quarterback to serve as a bridge for the team until the Rams can acquire and coach up a young quarterback of the future.
How many years will LA Rams QB Matthew Stafford play? The answer to that question could impact the LA Rams draft strategy in the 2023 NFL Draft. Do the Rams have several seasons to face that decision point? Or will injuries force the team to act prematurely once more? Either way, the Rams had better plan for their next quarterback.