Quarterbacks Carson Wentz, 30, and Matthew Stafford, 35, have gone head-to-head three times over the course of their NFL careers and the latter has gone 3-0 against the former with six touchdowns and a single interception. Now, the No. 1 pick of the 2009 NFL Draft and the No. 2 pick of the 2016 draft are teammates in Los Angeles as the Rams signed Wentz to a contract yesterday with Stafford battling a sprained UCL in his right thumb. The Rams released backup QB Brett Rypien in a corresponding move.
While the signing of Wentz could 100% just be an effort to upgrade on Rypien — who completed 13-of-28 passes for 130 yards and an interception in the LA’s loss to the Packers in Week 9 — with the Rams still somewhat respectable at 3-6 heading into their bye week, it could also mean the team is looking to upgrade on Stafford, who is without a clear timetable to return
And the Rams, who won the Super Bowl just two seasons ago after Stafford tossed a career-best 41 touchdowns during the regular season in his first year in LA after being traded from Detroit, may not want him to. Since the Super Bowl run, Stafford has struggled to stay healthy and has been fairly brutal when he’s been well enough to play. Since leading the Rams to a 12-5 record in 2021, he’s gone 6-11 as a starter with 18 touchdowns and 15 picks. Not good.
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Wentz, who played at a Pro Bowl level in 2017 before his season was cut short due to injury and wore out his welcome in Philadelphia before the Eagles dealt him to the Colts several years later so they could give Jalen Hurts the reins, struggled over seven starts with the Commanders last season, completing 62.3% of his passes for 1,755 yards with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Wentz, who has a career record of 46-45-1, might be even more washed than Stafford at this point as he has not had any suitors since he was released by the Commanders in February.
However, the same sort of thing was believed about Baker Mayfield last season, who struggled in Carolina before being cut by the Panthers and signing in Los Angeles. With Sean McVay serving as his offensive guru, Mayfield played well enough to finish out the year with the Rams that Tampa Bay signed him as their starter for this season. While Mayfield hasn’t lit the world on fire, he’s played well enough for the Buccaneers that they certainly don’t regret their investment in the former No. 1 pick.
Wentz could be hoping for a similar outcome and there’s always the possibility that he could wind up sticking around in LA as the Rams were open to moving Stafford over last offseason and made him “fully available” to get out from under his contract. Considering how Stafford has played, trading him this offseason will be difficult, but continuing to play him unless he improves will be tough. If Wentz shows he can still play, benching Stafford and his contract next season will be much easier for McVay and the organization. Doubt it happens, but never say never in the NFL.