Rams add former rival to solve QB2 quandary. But is this a rental or a prove it deal?

Los Angeles Rams, Sean Mcvay, Les Snead
Los Angeles Rams, Sean Mcvay, Les Snead / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

When we approached the subject of the LA Rams need to address the backup quarterback role, the stakes were clear. The team is not prepared to develop a quarterback this year, at least not while the role of QB2 remained vacant. The team is willing to roll the dice on a familiar foe, one that the team has been unable to beat in regular season games.

The Rams have agreed to sign former Las Vegas Raiders and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a one-year deal. Now the question is, will this lead to a longer-term contract down the road? Or do the Rams view this as a one-year rental?

For now, the team's track record has been such that a veteran quarterback is signed for one year and then 'poof,' vanish back into the NFL Free Agency market. Is it because the team still hasn't found what they are looking for? Or is the pattern simply a cycling through of new quarterbacks to refresh the offensive playbook and patterns.

I cannot give you that answer just yet. But I can say that the addition of Jimmy Garoppolo makes sense. He appeared in our recent 3 big-name free-agent QBs that the Rams would likely target. The other two were former Rams QB Carson Wentz and former Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

We cited the Rams interest in adding Garoppolo in 2022 as the primary reason for his inclusion. But he has more going for him than just links to the team two years ago. Still let's get the bad new out of the way right up front. Due to violating the NFL's controlled substance policy, the Rams will need to do without Jimmy G for the first two games of the 2024 NFL season. He can participate throughout the offseason and preseason, and can return for Week 3.

Now, what about this signing makes him a wise choice?

Like many veteran quarterbacks, Garoppolo adds to the win-now capability of this offense. But the Rams have been busy, and have constructed the type of run-heavy offense that could be ideal for a quarterback like Jimmy G.

Garoppolo's reputation is tarnished after a failed stint at starting for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2023. While not a disaster, he was paid to be elite, and only played like a veteran quarterback. He finished six games with the Raiders with a record of 3-3, throwing for 1,205 passing yards, a 65.1 completion rate, and seven touchdowns to nine interceptions.

By getting Garoppolo off the market, the Rams prevent his return to the 49ers, or to any other NFC West rival. He holds a 7-0 record against the team in the regular season, so that is a nice plus to signing him.

But the primary reason to sign him is his poise under pressure. Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 225 pounds, he has the build of an NFL quarterback. He has a career completion rate of 67.4 percent, has engineered 13 fourth-quarter comebacks and 13 game-winning drives. His career record in the NFL is an impressive 43-20.

While I would not say that he brings new layers of improvisation to the offense, he lived and breathed the 49ers offense for six seasons, and likely knows it better than Rams offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. The Rams have been infusing elements of that 49ers running game with amazing results, and now the coaching staff haw one more voice to add the the brain trust.

With Garoppolo aboard, the team has no reason to chase down a young quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft and risk missing out on selecting a player from a more vital position. The Rams offense, with perhaps a running back or wide receiver, now appears to be fully stocked for a new season.

Now about that defense? Nah, let's save that discussion for another time.