If the Rams QB keeps putting up major numbers, he could join Aaron Rodgers in a super-exclusive club that even Tom Brady doesn’t belong to.
Before Sunday, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hadn’t lost a meaningful game in 301 days. That included a 47-7 win over the Detroit Lions last Dec. 26, where Chase Daniel filled in for an injured Matthew Stafford.
That streak came to a halt once Stafford hit the field with the Los Angeles Rams, which acquired the 33-year-old back in March via trade, to take on the defending Super Bowl champs. With a stacked defense led by all-time great pass rusher Aaron Donald and a strong skill position group led by wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, the Rams felt they were a quarterback away from being a legit Super Bowl contender.
Stafford’s been proving them right, posting a sensational four touchdown passes and 343 yards on 27-for-38 passing in a 34-24 slaying of Brady and the Bucs. The win pushed Los Angeles to 3-0 and signaled that the road to Super Bowl LVI — which will be held right at home in SoFi Stadium in Inglewood — runs through the Rams’ house in more ways than one.
The top pick in the 2009 NFL Draft out of Georgia, Stafford spent 12 seasons with Detroit, reaching the playoffs just three times. The Lions didn’t win a single postseason game during his tenure, and were seemingly in a constant state of rebuilding with a nucleus of players that never truly had the time, space, and system to mesh with Stafford’s impressive abilities.
Now, Stafford is suddenly thriving in his first year away from his beloved Motor City.
Notably, the Rams decided to acquire the QB with his Lions contract still active, a five-year, $135 million deal that runs through the 2022 season. And if LA’s new gunslinger keeps shining as he has through three weeks, management might be feeling the pressure to lock in a player who could help the franchise win its first Super Bowl since Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, and The Greatest Show on Turf.
At age 33, Stafford is already No. 8 on the NFL’s all-time list for career earnings at just over $246.5 million thanks to his lucrative extension — not to mention the six-year, $72 million deal he signed upon being drafted, which came two years before the league and the NFLPA enacted a new rookie wage scale in 2011.
If he continues his strong start, Stafford could easily receive another $100 million-plus extension.
According to Spotrac, Aaron Rodgers is the only player in NFL history to sign two $100 million contracts in his career. The vast majority of superstars haven’t even done it once.
Right now, Stafford is on pace to be just the second player to join this super-elite club, though Russell Wilson might beat him to it depending on how he and the Seahawks play things out with his four-year, $140 million extension.
Since Warner last played for the Rams in 2003, the franchise has used Marc Bulger, Chris Chandler, Jamie Martin, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Gus Frerotte, Brock Berlin, Trent Green, Kyle Boller, Keith Null, Sam Bradford, AJ Feeley, Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis, Shaun Hill, Nick Foles, Case Keenum, Jared Goff, Sean Mannion and John Wolford at quarterback. That’s a disheartening list of 19 QBs in 18 years, looking for someone who could capably lead the franchise.
With Stafford looking like the guy who could bring the Rams their first Los Angeles-based championship in an existence that dates back 70 years, they’re probably going to have to pay him a nine-figure deal, potentially (and likely) making the kid from Dallas’ Highland Park High School an incredibly rare case of an NFL player who could gets that contract twice.