Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford toiled away for a dozen years in Detroit and did very little winning. Now, he has a new lease on NFL life thanks to the blockbuster trade the Rams pulled off to acquire him.
Stafford’s presence in L.A. is drawing interest from several of the top pending NFL free agents, suggesting a Rams superteam could soon be brewing in 2021.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that Stafford’s phone blew up as news surfaced that he’d be traded from the Lions to L.A. in exchange for fellow signal-caller Jared Goff and a couple of first-round picks:
“Shortly after the Rams and Detroit Lions agreed to a trade that would send Stafford out West, the quarterback began receiving texts from players who wanted to come join him in Los Angeles, per sources. […] One of those players expected to be interested in joining Stafford in Los Angeles is Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., per sources."
As Schefter also mentioned in his report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady experienced a similar phenomenon when he decided to leave the New England Patriots last offseason and sign with the Bucs.
Although Brady is the unquestionable GOAT of the sport, there’s no denying the similarities here, as Schefter astutely pointed out. The sheer fact that TB12 was on Tampa Bay’s roster was enough to pique the interest of more than a few high-end players.
All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown got his life back on track after being taken under Brady’s wing and has been an asset to the Buccaneers’ already-loaded offense. Brady even got his former Patriots teammate Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement. Gronk hasn’t had quite the same role as a pass-catcher as he once did, because the Bucs are so loaded at receiver, and he’s such a phenomenal blocker.
Who could Stafford bring to the Los Angeles Rams? Well, for starters, Schefter named Marvin Jones Jr., who’s one of three Detroit receivers who are set to be free agents. Given that Goff is likely to stick around for the Lions, the team is bound to use one of its high draft picks on the receiver position, and as it is, not everyone can stay.
Expect Detroit to prioritize re-signing Kenny Golladay, since he has the most upside and amount of time ahead of him as a football player. However, imagine if someone like Golladay were to spurn the Lions and instead find a way to land in L.A., joining a receiving corps already headlined by Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods.
Kupp and Woods are strong enough at receiver for the Rams to be set. Adding someone like Jones or Golladay who Stafford already has chemistry with would be icing on the cake. And that’s not even to mention rising second-year wideout Van Jefferson, who showed promise as a rookie.
Really, who else could the Rams possibly get? General manager Les Snead has been super aggressive in landing star players and signing them to big contracts. Look no further than the decision to pay all-world defensive lineman Aaron Donald and elite cornerback Jalen Ramsey. They were big reasons why L.A. had the NFL’s No. 1 defense in 2020 in terms of total yards and points allowed.
It says a lot about how much respect Stafford has around the league that multiple players are mulling the possibility of switching teams for the sheer chance of being his teammate.
Los Angeles is not a bad city to play in at all, so there’s always that side of the sales pitch Stafford can make to those who are hitting him up about joining forces.
Even if the Rams’ roster stayed more or less status quo, they’d have to be considered among the Super Bowl favorites for next season. Adding anyone else to the mix only bolsters their chances of lifting the Lombardi Trophy.