As the Rams prepare for the NFL draft, The Times will examine their roster. Part 8 of 8: Quarterbacks.
Super Bowl LVI will be played at SoFi Stadium next February, and coach Rams coach Sean McVay and new quarterback Matthew Stafford have been tasked with making sure the Rams get there.
The trade that sent Jared Goff and two first-round draft picks to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Stafford puts the pressure directly on McVay and Stafford, a 12-year veteran.
Stafford, 33, has long been regarded as one of the NFL’s best pure passers, with a knack for engineering comebacks. McVay said Stafford’s ability to move, manipulate coverage and change arm slots to complete passes was similar to that of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“Matthew has done a lot of those same things,” McVay said.
Rodgers and Mahomes led their teams to Super Bowl victories. Stafford never has won a playoff game. But, apart from Hall of Fame receiver Calvin Johnson, he also has not been surrounded by a surplus of elite talent or coached by an offensive mind as highly regarded as McVay.
“Quarterbacks have played at a high level under his tutelage,” Stafford said. “So, I’m excited to get the opportunity to play for him and for this team.”
Last month, Stafford had thumb surgery on his throwing hand, but is expected to participate in offseason workouts with teammates at or away from the team facility.
Last season, with Goff recovering from thumb surgery, John Wolford started the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals and the NFC wild-card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. Wolford, however, left the game after suffering a first-quarter neck injury.
The Rams signed Devlin Hodges in January after he was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hodges played eight games in 2019, starting six. He passed for 1,063 yards and five touchdowns, with eight interceptions.
Under contract for 2021: Stafford ($20 million), Wolford ($855,000), Hodges ($780,000), Bryce Perkins ($660,000).
Free agents: The Rams signed Hodges and did not re-sign Blake Bortles.
Draft: With Stafford on the roster, and Wolford’s experience in McVay’s system, the Rams are not expected to be in the market for a rookie quarterback.
Roster decisions: Stafford is signed through 2023 but the last year is a void year for salary-cap purposes, according to overthecap.com.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.