NFL Rumors: Michael Lombardi claims 'Rams would love to trade,' Stafford

Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
3 of 3
LA Rams Rumors NFL Rumors Rams Roster Les Snead, Matthew Stafford
Les Snead, Matthew Stafford / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

What does the Rams roster have if Stafford goes?

This is a non-issue. If the LA Rams trade or release Matthew Stafford in 2023, the salary cap hit of nearly $30 million completely sinks the teams 2023 payroll budget. Truth be told, it is far more affordable for the LA Rams to pay Stafford not to play than to attempt any release or trade of him in 2023. That all changes in 2024, when the Rams realize a saving of $13.5 million by either trading or releasing Stafford.

But even if the Rams found a way to part ways with Matthew Stafford this off-season, would the team do so? The answer in my opinion is a resounding no. Who do the Rams have currently on the roster as a Plan B? All three backup quarterbacks: Baker Mayfield, John Wolford, and Bryce Perkins; are on expiring contracts. Stafford is the only quarterback currently under contract to play in 2023.

While the LA Rams may be shocking some fans with the continued willingness to part ways with veteran starters, the Rams have some logical reasons behind those moves. In short, there are younger players on the Rams roster who can absorb playing time in 2023, and the 2023 NFL Draft is quite deep with talented prospects at edge rusher and cornerback.

NFL rumors over Stafford do not pass the sniff test

Sure, the LA Rams are clearing cap space. Sure the LA Rams are believed to be setting up this team for a run at the NFL Playoffs, not in 2023, but more likely in 2024. So why wouldn't the Rams want to part ways with another veteran now? Well, the most obvious reason is the simple fact that there are no elite quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. And even if there were, there are no paths to the early picks in Round 1 for the LA Rams.

In short, this is a 'fantasy rumor,' one that touches on the logic of making a trade that has no practical means of taking place. It's along the lines of 'I'd love to date Elizabeth Olsen,' which if the stars aligned would certainly be something special. But we all know that it won't happen. That's pretty much as far as it goes with the LA Rams likelihood of moving Matthew Stafford.

So, does that make this some sort of consolation prize for the LA Rams? I don't think so. The Rams willingly negotiated a contract extension with Matthew Stafford, and the team literally has no viable options for an alternative at the quarterback position for 2023. That means that even if the Rams are scrambling to get out from under Stafford's stifling contract, there is no viable relief in store this year.

The LA Rams are a team that is making surprise decisions right now. The Rams roster, for better or worse, is getting younger rapidly in 2023. It's simply a matter of time before NFL Rumors suggest that the team is willing to part ways with WR Cooper Kupp and DL Aaron Donald. It does not mean that any of these moves will happen. It's simply a way of NFL pundits to push the envelope with subjective guesswork that could hit a home run if something along those lines happens in the future.

Did the Rams make calls about Matthew Stafford? It's hard to argue either way. But the Rams know that any discussion about trading Stafford is dead on arrival before any negotiations begin. Do the Rams willingly waste time chewing the fat with other NFL GMs like that?

Hot Developing Story. NFL Rumors: Vikings whispers could obliterate Rams Robinson market. dark

You decide. As for me, I think that the Rams have bigger fish to fry. And I certainly do not believe that the Rams are so eager to part ways with Stafford that the team is willing to swallow a huge hit to their 2023 salary cap to do so.