While offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth had a very long, productive, and proficient career in the NFL, the truth of the matter is that the average career length of an NFL player is no greater than 3.3 years. With that information, it's safe to say that the LA Rams were not exactly prepared for the moment that Big Whit called it a career, and hung up his clears for the last time after 16 seasons of hard-fought NFL competition.
The Rams front office ultimately planned for swing tackle Joe Noteboom to take over at that all-too-important role in 2022. Despite the fact that Noteboom had
ESPN has just published an article where Seth Wickersham expects LA Rams starting quarterback Matthew Stafford to announce his retirement at the end of the 2023 NFL season.
In his piece, Wickersham talks about the causes that prompted his assertion that Stafford is ready to hang up his cleats:
"To be clear, I have no inside information. But I watched how ready and optimistic Stafford was during the Rams training camp, and this season, while a known rebuild, has been brutal. It is the second straight season in which he has gotten beat up every week, too, taking a sack on 7.5% of his dropbacks since the start of 2022. He has banked in the neighborhood of $300 million during his career. He has won a Super Bowl. And he has numbers that will merit serious Canton consideration. So factoring all that in, my prediction is that Stafford calls it a career after the season. "- ESPN Seth Wickersham
But assertions and speculation aside, the LA Rams won't need to worry about veteran QB Matthew Stafford stepping away soon, at least not of his own volition. Here is the almost immediate rebuttal from the player himself:
Stafford has competed in the NFL with a dislocated shoulder. He has played in pain and agony. So there is no way that Stafford voluntarily walks away from the game while he is still under contract and starting in the NFL.
The day for Stafford's retirement is likely to be closer than he or the LA Rams care to admit right now. But there is no gold watch for Matthew Stafford in the immediate future. That is not to say that the LA Rams should not have a succession plan in place for several key positions.
But Stafford will be back in 2024.