Projecting A Matthew Stafford Contract Extension, Courtland Sutton Trade For The Los Angeles Rams

Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams have popped up in NFL rumors in recent weeks regarding reports of potential interest in a Courtland Sutton trade and some uncertainty regarding the Matthew Stafford contract. With the 2024 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, both things could be addressed in the weeks to come.

Los Angeles didn’t draft a wide receiver until the 213th overall pick, leaving the door open to general manager Les Snead swinging a deal for another offensive weapon this summer. Meanwhile, Stafford let it be known that he isn’t happy with his current contract and it will become a bigger deal as his peers sign extensions in the months ahead.

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Let’s first dive into a potential trade for Sutton followed by a contract projection for Stafford.

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Identifying a potential Courtland Sutton trade for the Rams

Los Angeles Rams, Courtland Sutton trade
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Even after the Jerry Jeudy trade, Denver seemed to float Sutton in NFL rumors leading up to the draft. While a deal never came to fruition, there’s really no strong reason to think he wouldn’t still be available for the right return.

  • Courtland Sutton stats (2023): 59 receptions, 772 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns

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It’s been previously reported that teams willing to offer a fourth-round pick would want Denver to cover a portion of Sutton’s salary ($17.395 million cap hit). However, that would’ve been for a pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, offering the Broncos the immediate value of a rookie who could play immediately.

The Rams have approximately $11.45 million in cap space, more if Stafford’s contract is adjusted. Los Angeles could ask the Broncos to cover a small portion of his salary this season. In exchange, they get a higher draft pick and one of the Rams’ underperforming players from the 2023 class.

  • Los Angeles Rams trade: 2025 3rd, Nick Hampton
  • Denver Broncos trade: Courtland Sutton ($5 million of salary covered), 2025 6th

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Los Angeles adds the perfect complementary receiver to Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp, while offering its third-round selection instead of a fourth for Denver to cover more of Sutton’s salary.

Projecting the cost of a Matthew Stafford contract extension

Los Angeles Rams, Matthew Stafford contract projection
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***Since the publishing of this article Jared Goff signed a four-year, $212 million contract extension that includes $170 million guaranteed. This makes him the 2nd highest paid QBs in average salary per year at $53 million.

Timing is important for both the Rams and Stafford. Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff is poised to become the next quarterback to sign a lucrative contract extension. He’s going to be one of the highest-paid NFL players, receiving a deal well north of $50 million per season. Likewise, Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love is due for a contract extension worth at least $45 million.

  • Matthew Stafford stats (2023): 3,965 passing yards, 92.5 QB rating, 62.6% completion rate, 24-11 TD-INT, 7.6 yards per attempt

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Stafford doesn’t necessarily need a long-term deal, but he wants a better commitment than the one Los Angeles has made to him right now. If the Rams wanted to, they could designate him as a post-June 1 release in 2025 to generate $22 million or designate him as a post-June 1 trade for $32 million.

Stafford is a better quarterback than Goff with a resume that easily surpasses Love’s. Both might warrant more long-term money than the Rams’ quarterback, but Los Angeles could still provide its veteran with a multi-year extension. As of now, there are no guarantees on Stafford’s contract after 2024.

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So, the Rams can provide him with an adjusted deal that guarantees Stafford $52 million for the 2025 season, which will be right in line with the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. Tacking on years to his current deal also means spreading out the cap hit with void years.

The contract terms in 2026 can have the guarantees kick in a few days after the new NFL League Year starts, giving Stafford a window to decide if he wants to play or retire. What’s important is providing Stafford with the guaranteed money he’s earned, while protecting Los Angeles from a longer financial commitment.