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Mike LaFleur sees no difference in Matthew Stafford, despite unresolved contract issue

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is participating in offseason workouts despite an unresolved contractual concern. Last week, coach Sean McVay repeatedly said they’re keeping the situation “in house.”

On Tuesday, reporters tried to get some information a different way, by asking offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur whether he has noticed any difference in Stafford, given the contract issue.

“No,” LaFleur said, “Matthew, when he’s at work, it’s — He loves being out on that field. You guys were watching today, you see the amount of fun this guy has. Shows that it is still a child’s game, and you just happen to make a lot of money to be able to do something that he’s been pretty good at. But no, when he’s in the meeting room, when he’s on the field, he’s super-positive. He’s the same Matthew that I met a year ago. Cool part for me is that’s above my pay grade in terms of what happens next with all that. I know they’re doing things the right way and we’ll go from there.”

The issue, as reported promptly after the Rams didn’t emerge from round one of the draft with a quarterback, is that Stafford wants more guaranteed money beyond 2024. That would force the Rams to abandon their admitted year-to-year approach with Stafford. McVay has expressed a willingness to make that happen.

Complicating matters since the report first emerged is that the guy the Rams dumped to get Stafford, Jared Goff, has gotten a contract with a new-money average of $53 million per year. That could make Stafford want a raise over a deal with a new-money average of $40 million annually — and with cash commitments of $31 million this year, $32 million next year, and $31 million in 2026.