Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has been sidelined since back in Week 11 due to both a head injury and a spinal cord contusion.
The Super Bowl-winning signal caller will not play in any of the three remaining games for the defending champs as they close up shop on a lost season.
It has led to speculation that Stafford, 34, could opt to call it quits this offseason. Per the quarterback, that’s not going to be the case. Stafford appeared on his wife Kelly’s podcast recently, ending any discussion about potential retirement in the process.
Any time we’re talking about a spinal cord injury and the neck, you have to take a step back. With that said, this injury seems to be minor in the grand scheme of things.
The larger question here has been whether the Rams are simply going to blow it up as they conclude an injury-plagued season in which the team is battling it out for last place in the NFC West. That includes talk about head coach Sean McVay and defensive tackle Aaron Donald potentially retiring.
Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NFL QB rankings
Financial implications of Matthew Stafford returning in 2023
Acquired from the Detroit Lions ahead of last season, Stafford led Los Angeles to the Super Bowl title this past February. He quickly signed a massive contract extension that will have wide-ranging ramifications for the cash-strapped Rams.
- Matthew Stafford contract: 4 years, $160 million with $130 million total guaranteed
Stafford is due $27.5 million from the Rams in 2023, which is guaranteed for injury. There’s another $26 million option bonus in March. That would trigger $31 million in fully guaranteed cash for the 2024 season.
According to Spotrac, Los Angeles will have a mere $3.55 million in cap room once free agency opens in March. It doesn’t have a lot of outs on the roster with huge dead cap hits surrounding Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Floyd, Allen Robinson, Bobby Wagner and others.
Matthew Stafford looking to return to form
Now that Stafford has made it clear he plans on playing in 2023, he’s going to do everything possible to bounce back following a down 2022 campaign.
In his first season with the Rams, Stafford threw for 4,886 yards with 41 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He was a shell of his former self prior to going down to injury in Week 11.
- Matthew Stafford stats (2022): 68% completion, 2,087 yards, 10 TD, 8 INT, 87.4 QB rating
To put this into perspective, Stafford’s numbers were his worst since the former No. 1 pick was a rookie with the Detroit Lions in 2009.
Based on Stafford’s comments, there’s now a chance that the Rams will simply look to run it back in 2023. It makes sense to an extent given the injuries we’ve seen to the quarterback as well as fellow stars Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald this season.