Exploring QB options for the Rams if Stafford’s elbow keeps him sidelined

The defending champs may not want to hand the reins to their unproven backups, even if it’s only for a few games

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Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford
Photo: AP

All eyes are on Matthew Stafford and his nagging elbow injury as the defending Super Bowl champs navigate training camp.

He told reporters he has “a little soreness” and “we’re working through it” while head coach Sean McVay doesn’t seem worried about his star signal-caller being unavailable to start the season.


Even though the Rams have been taking it easy with Stafford, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be 100 percent before the season starts — or even during.

If Stafford was to miss time, the Rams would have to turn to John Wolford or Bryce Perkins. Of the two, only Wolford has experience, starting a game in 2020 where he went 22-for-38 with 231 yards and an interception. Last year, he appeared in three games, going 1-for-4 for five yards and a pick, overall.


Would you feel comfortable with that duo?

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rams made a move for a quarterback, even if it was just for a couple of games.

Here are some guys they could look at.

Free agents

If the Rams don’t want to acquire someone via a trade, they could look to the (extremely dry) free agent market. Could McVay find use out of Cam Newton, Mike Glennon, or AJ McCarron for a few games? Or, if the 49ers ultimately release Jimmy Garoppolo, could the Rams be a surprise team to pick him up? I don’t see any way the 49ers and Rams complete a trade for the 30-year-old, so Los Angeles would have to wait and see if the Niners release him around the final cut-down day on Aug. 30.


Nick Foles

Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles signed a two-year deal to back up Matt Ryan in Indianapolis.


While the Colts would love the idea of keeping Foles around in case something happened to their 37-year-old quarterback, they may also be willing to part with him if it meant an extra pick in next season’s draft. Foles hasn’t played much since bringing Philly a title, but he’s been as solid a backup quarterback as you can ask for, filling in nicely for the Bears the past two seasons.

Case Keenum

Keenum is currently sitting behind Josh Allen on Buffalo’s depth chart after the Bills sent a seventh-rounder to Cleveland to acquire him. Allen obviously isn’t going anywhere, and he is about as durable a quarterback as the league has. It’s always nice to have a serviceable backup, but I can’t imagine the Bills would turn down a pick better than the seventh-rounder they gave up to get Keenum. The 34-year-old played very well in 2017 and 2018 as a starter, and would be a good option to keep the Rams afloat for however long Stafford could be out.


Taylor Heinicke

The best option that comes to mind would be 29-year-old Taylor Heinicke of the Washington Commanders. Heinecke has proven he can play good football, throwing for over 3,400 yards and 20 touchdowns in 16 games last season. Washington traded for Carson Wentz this offseason, and will no doubt give him the reins as the full-time starter. If Stafford ends up missing an extended period of time, Heinecke would be the best option to keep the Rams in the hunt in the NFC.


It’s too early in training camp for the Rams to make a move. But they have a win-now roster, and would love to become the first team since the Patriots in 2004 and 2005 to repeat as Super Bowl champs. If they feel Stafford won’t be ready to go on Sept. 8, they shouldn’t be shy to solidify their spot at the most important position in football.