This offseason, rumors were aplenty in the NFL, and one player in those conversations was Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford. Talk that the Rams were trying to trade or redo Stafford's contract swirled, but team COO Kevin Demoff says this is all false.
Demoff made sure to emphasize that any reports of the Rams wanting to trade or alter Stafford's contract are not true. While on The Athletic's "11 Personnel", Demoff said he does not appreciate the rumors about the 35-year-old quarterback.
"Those conversations frustrated me because I think it's trying to inject narratives that aren't there," Demoff said. "I know there are reports that we tried to trade Matthew. We were not actively trying to trade Matthew. I know (Rams GM) Les (Snead) has rebuffed that before. It's just not the case. I think if you wanted to be in the reality of the NFL, there are 10 teams this year, at least, that are going to have different quarterbacks. We were obviously aggressive in remaking our roster in March."
They were not shopping Stafford, according to Demoff, but that doesn't mean teams weren't trying to obtain the Super Bowl champion quarterback.
"It would be naive to think that people didn't inquire about what was going to happen with the player who the year before won the Super Bowl," Demoff said. "It's different than whether people inquire, whether there are casual conversations."
Demoff admitted that if another team put together the perfect trade proposal, the Rams would have heard them out.
"[Stafford] is a pillar, we value him highly," he said. "Now, again, if someone did come in offering a ridiculous trade package, I think you owe it to your organization to listen the same way you would anyone. I think Les said people called about nine players during the offseason. That's grown probably since that time."
Stafford's $59 million contract was fully guaranteed in March, so if the Rams wanted to make moves, they would've had to do it before then. Demoff shut down the idea that the Rams wanted to get out of Stafford's paycheck. He explained the nature of the contract and how the team could've parted ways with the QB without owing anything.
"... The part that frustrated me was this notion that we were trying to get away from the $59 million and that was the only way to do it through trade," Demoff said. "That tells you that you didn't have an understanding of the situation. Matthew's dollars after 2022 were unguaranteed. We could've walked away this year, free and clear, for $0. No future money owed. So there was no need to restructure. If we wanted out of Matthew's deal, we could've walked away. We didn't have to trade him to relieve the $58.5 million. We could've just walked away."
The number is high, but Demoff pointed out that compared to his competition, it is not as big as it seems.
"It's not like this is some outlandish deal," he said. "There were plenty of quarterbacks this year who signed for $80 million-plus in the first couple of years. So $58.5 million when you're talking the next years is really not top-quarterback money."
The team values Stafford "highly," Demoff said, another reason they felt the contract was worth keeping the same. Stafford is under contract through 2026 and the team appears confident and happy that he is there to stay.
"The biggest point is it misses [that] this organization is fully committed to Matthew, believe in him, believe in what he did," Demoff said. "View last year as an anomaly for a number of reasons."
Los Angeles went 5-12 last season, with Stafford starting nine games and going 3-6 in those contests. Stafford had one of his lowest passing yard totals of his career with 2,087, along with 10 touchdowns, the second-fewest of his career.