HomeFootball DirtMatthew Stafford to be Rams' Starting Quarterback in 2024 Without a Doubt

Matthew Stafford to be Rams’ Starting Quarterback in 2024 Without a Doubt

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While the Rams are eliminated, Matthew Stafford delivered a quality final-game performance to punctuate a comeback season. The 35-year-old quarterback is not planning to retire, and his job will be waiting for him when the Rams reconvene in April.

Sean McVay said Stafford “100 percent, absolutely, unequivocally” will be the Rams’ starter in 2024, per The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue. Considering the season Stafford put together, his status as the starter for a fourth year in Los Angeles no longer appeared to be in doubt. This certainly was not the case last year.

While McVay said the Rams came to a consensus that Stafford would remain the team’s starter — after an injury-plagued 2022 — the team did attempt to trade the veteran quarterback earlier during the 2023 offseason. A nagging elbow injury and a spinal contusion disrupted Stafford’s 2022 season, leading to the worst title defense in the Super Bowl era. But the veteran passer re-emerged this year, playing in 16 of the Rams’ 18 games (he rested in the team’s regular-season finale) and booking his first Pro Bowl nod with the team.

Stafford’s renewed health played the lead role in the Rams’ return to the playoffs. The team had stripped several Super Bowl pieces off its roster last year and ended up relying on numerous rookie-contract pieces. A few of those made substantial contributions to the cause. None more so than Puka Nacua, who formed an instant connection with Stafford en route to breaking Bill Groman‘s 63-year-old record — albeit in three extra games — for receiving yards by a rookie. Stafford finished with a lower completion percentage (62.6) compared to his previous Rams slates, and his 24 touchdown passes paled in comparison to the 41 he tossed during the team’s Super Bowl-winning campaign. But the 15th-year veteran ranked 5th in QBR, landing in the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2014.

The Rams extended Stafford, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp in 2022. Donald’s contract makes 2024 a pivotal year for the team, which will likely adjust Stafford’s deal to avoid a $49.5MM cap charge. Stafford’s $31.9MM 2024 base salary became guaranteed early in 2023; the Rams have their starter tied to a $40MM-per-year deal that runs through 2026. Donald’s landmark contract expires after the ’24 season, and Nacua was in better form than Kupp for most of the ’23 slate. Still, the Super Bowl stars are on their way back to team with a promising rookie class once again.

It is not certain the Rams’ hopeful Stafford backup, Stetson Bennett, will be part of that effort. McVay stopped short of guaranteeing (via ESPN’s Sarah Barshop) Bennett would be back. The Rams placed the two-time national championship-winning QB on the reserve/NFI list in September, and while McVay believed Bennett is “doing better,” the seven-year Rams HC said it was too early to know if the young passer would be ready to be part of the team again. The Rams eyed Bennett as a potential project ahead of the draft.

Additionally, McVay said the Rams are not planning another staff shakeup. The team moved on from several coaches following its five-win 2022 season, but the longtime L.A. leader wants continuity for 2024. The only departures are set to be from teams plucking Rams assistants. That is already happening, with D-line coach Eric Henderson becoming USC’s co-DC. Rams DC Raheem Morris is up for multiple HC jobs, while QBs coach Zac Robinson is a candidate for the Bears and Saints’ OC positions. The Rams have seen frequent turnover during McVay’s successful stay, but the team is planning on keeping as many assistants as it can.

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