Rams' Matthew Stafford Can Play into His Late 30s After Trade, GM Les Snead Says

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 7, 2021

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) passes in the first half against the Minnesota Vikings during an NFL football game, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
AP Photo/Rick Osentoski

Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead hopes he found both his quarterback of the present and semi-distant future in Matthew Stafford. 

“I don’t think we did it thinking two years,” said Snead of the trade to acquire Stafford on the 11 Personnel podcast. “Based on his age, you can legitimately think five to seven, eight years if you look at what Drew (Brees) has done.

“With quarterbacks of his pedigree, a lot of those guys have played into their late 30s, for sure. So that was definitely the vision with (Stafford).”

Stafford has two years and $43 million remaining on the contract he originally signed with the Detroit Lions in 2017. The deal offers both Stafford and the Rams a two-year window to assess whether he can help lead the team to the next level.

The Rams traded Jared Goff and two first-round picks for Stafford, the type of all-in move typically done by a franchise that sees itself as a Super Bowl contender. 

Interestingly enough, Goff has more Pro Bowl selections (two) in five seasons than Stafford (one) has in 12 seasons. The Rams' trade was an all-in bet that Stafford's numbers will improve in a situation better than Detroit, where he was often surrounded by porous offensive lines and below-average skill-position players (Calvin Johnson as the exception).

If the bet proves correct, there's no reason to believe Stafford will see a significant decline anytime soon. Quarterbacks are increasingly playing well deep into their 30s and even early 40s, with Aaron Rodgers winning league MVP last season at age 37.

Stafford still has at least a handful of years with prime-level potential, provided he's able to stay healthy. In 2019, Stafford missed eight games due to a spinal injury and he played most of last season dealing with various ailments.