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Matthew Stafford contract eventually will wreak havoc on Rams’ salary cap

Mike Florio and Peter King evaluate if Matthew Stafford is the guy for the Rams, after Les Snead referred to the QB as one of the team’s pillars, and how Sean McVay factors into the next year.

There’s an important reason why the Rams have pivoted from “fuck them picks” to “pluck them picks.” They need a broad nucleus of young, cheap talent to offset the salary-cap disasters looming on their roster.

There’s no bigger coming cap mess than the one associated with quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Although Stafford has a manageable cap figure of $20 million in 2023, trading him would have sparked a $48 million dead-money charge for 2023. Which is reason alone for Stafford to not be traded now.

Next year, the Stafford cap number spikes to $49.5 million. A trade before June 1 would trigger a $55.5 million cap hit.

And, sure, the Rams could (and probably would) restructure Stafford’s $31 million salary for 2024. Still, at some point they’ll be taking a massive cap charge for the $61.5 million he received last year, while carrying a 2022 cap charge of only $13.5 million.

By 2025, Stafford’s cap number will be $50.5 million. He’ll be 37 that year. But it would still cost $37 million in dead money to trade him before June 1.

That’s only two years away. And he’s only been on the team two years. When considering everything they gave up to get him (Jared Goff, two first-round picks, and a third-round pick), it’s hard not to wonder whether it was worth it.

Sure, they won a Super Bowl with Stafford. But that likely will be the only one. And they could end up swirling in a purgatory that may not end for a while.