Nightmarish Scenario For Los Angeles Rams? Examining the Path to a 4th-String QB Week 1 Start

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The Los Angeles Rams technically are set at quarterback for the foreseeable future. However, due to a potentially perfect storm lining up for the team, there exists a chance that the franchise could debut with a fourth-string quarterback in 2024. It would not take much for that to happen. Here’s a look at why.

Could the Los Angeles Rams Start Dresser Winn In Week 1?

Matthew Stafford Contract Negotiation

The first issue facing the room is that Matthew Stafford reportedly is unhappy with his contract. If things take a dive in that department, one of the most commonly used negotiation tactics is to sit out. Of course, it is quite rare for a quarterback to sit out into the regular season. Even preseason holdouts are extremely rare.

According to Spotrac, Stafford is covered through the 2026 season, which would make one think that any negotiating would be done in a year at the earliest. However, the quarterback’s problem isn’t with his earnings this year. Rather, the 2025 and 2026 guaranteed amounts are an issue, per CBS Sports.

As such, if a holdout happens and runs into the regular season, the team would be forced to turn to the second-string quarterback. However, there is a problem there, as well.

Jimmy Garppolo Suspension

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-OTA
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According to NFL Media and AP News, Jimmy Garoppolo will be suspended for the first two weeks of the year due to using PEDs. As such, it would force the Rams to their third-string quarterback and potential eventual Matthew Stafford successor Stetson Bennett.

Stetson Bennett’s Availability

However, there is no guarantee he will be available for the first week of games, as he missed most of last season due to personal reasons. While he is “onboard,” for off-season workouts, per ESPN, there is no guarantee he will be available, either.

Leave it to Dresser

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-OTA
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After missing most of 2023, Bennett’s availability for the regular season will remain in doubt on some level until he proves he can remain around long-term. As such, if he is unable to play at the start of the season, it would then fall to Dresser Winn, the team’s fourth-string quarterback.

According to Pro Football Reference, Winn has yet to record his first action in the NFL. The 25-year-old played his last snaps in a live game in college in 2022. In that season while playing for the UT Martin Skyhawks, he threw for 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, according to the school’s website.

As it stands, the Rams could be one holdout away from being forced to go from Super Bowl-winning quarterback Matthew Stafford to a fourth-string quarterback. At this point, the result might lie in Stafford’s hands.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-OTA
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports