Maybe the Los Angeles Rams are jealous of all the Aaron Rodgers trade/retire stuff and want some pub too.
Former NFL administrator turned talking head Michael Lombardi went on the Pat McAfee Show Thursday and threw out there that Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was, quote, “fully available.”
Now, the context of the conversation (which most news outlets won’t report) was a conversation about Kirk Cousins and whether he was available from the Vikings.
Lombardi piped in that both Cousins and Stafford were available, following up by saying the Rams “would love to trade” Stafford.
When asked whether this was really feasible, Lombardi talked about Stafford’s big contract, but then said the Rams have called teams. “I know this. They all lie about it. I lied about it.”
Later in the day, Rams GM Les Snead threw cold snow on the gossip calling Stafford one of the team’s ‘pillars’ along with Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald (strangely forgetting about No. 5 in the secondary).
Is it true that Stafford is available? Have the Rams called teams? Or is this just the juicy rumor of the day?
The answer to all that is Yes.
Everyone Is Available
If I told you right now that the Miami Dolphins have offered two No. 1 picks, plus Tua plus Pro Bowl tackle Terron Armstead for Stafford, you’d be like…where do I sign for that?
So should we believe that the Rams have ‘called teams’ about Matthew Stafford, well, maybe not expressly. I doubt Snead has called around and said, ‘what will you give me for Stafford?’ but if someone wants to make an offer like this mythical one from the Dolphins, they’d listen, right?
This is what good GMs do, because guess what, some GMs (really, some owners) are dumb, and they fall in love with a player or they think they are one player away from winning a Super Bowl and will wildly overpay for that asset.
So would the Rams “love to trade” Stafford, as Lombardi said?
Of course. They’d trade anyone. But only for the right price, which would be substantial. Every NFL player is tradeable for the right price. Snead might be hoping some team wants to wildly overpay.
Stafford Is The Goods
The NFL is a quarterback league. Stafford just won a Super Bowl two seasons ago. He’s still an ‘above-average’ starter, I’d argue that he’s elite. (He has the same number of Super Bowl rings than Rodgers you know).
This past season, yes, I thought he looked sluggish at times. The Rams went 3-6 in his nine starts before he got hurt. He only threw 10 touchdown passes. My favorite Stafford fact from last year is he was sacked 29 times last season in 10 games. In 2021, he was sacked 30 times total.
No one was going to look good behind the Rams journeyman offensive line.
The Rams gave Stafford a four-year $160 million deal after winning the Super Bowl. That’s a good number, but there are always outs and finagling.
I keep seeing the Rams are over the salary cap. As a fan, that makes you worry…why? It’s not your money. Good players win games. Good players cost money. NFL teams should always be close to or over the cap, if they aren’t, they aren’t trying to win. How many games does “cap space” win?
Would Anyone Want Stafford?
I thought for sure looking at the NFL standings I’d find more teams who may be in the “we only need a QB to win the Super Bowl” situation, but honestly I didn’t find that many.
The Dolphins are one team though…Tua got hurt, the Dolphins have a good defense and some weapons on offense. It makes sense they would want a proven winner at QB, and Tom Brady’s name keeps coming up with them.
Washington? I mean, Taylor Heinicke is a nice player, but is winning a Super Bowl? The thing about them too is we know their owner is nuts and would pay a ton for Stafford.
Las Vegas? The Raiders just moved on from Derek Carr. Tennessee? Indianapolis?
I’ll throw another wild theory in the mix. What about the San Francisco 49ers? They may have the most interesting and complex quarterback situation in the NFL. Would they get rid of all of those guys for Stafford?
The Remodel Is Underway
Snead was very cautious during his free agency press conference talking about what direction the Rams are taking. Listen, it’s easier just to let everyone go, suck for a few years and hope you build back up through the Draft and get good.
But when has that ever worked in the NFL? The Texans did a teardown, and uh, still stink. The Bengals did it, but got Joe Burrow. The Jets tried it and got Sam Darnold…and then Zach Wilson.
What makes you think that a teardown or a tank is a better philosophy than keeping your core intact? Why would you willingly give up on good players? You aren’t going anywhere in today’s NFL without an elite QB.
I guess it’s just restlessness by fans, almost like we want to see new players just to see new players.
Part of the remodel philosophy is to hold on to your ‘pillars’ like Snead said, but if someone wants to hand you a pile of players and picks for one of them, you listen. That’s no rumor. That’s smart management in today’s NFL.