NFL Notes: Matthew Stafford, Draft, 2021 Salary Cap

     

Matthew Stafford

For the first time, new Rams QB Matthew Stafford talked publicly about his decision to pursue a trade that ultimately sent him from Detroit to Los Angeles. Stafford “never thought I would ever finish my career anywhere else” besides with the Lions, but he felt like it was time for a change. 

“I’ve always wanted to play in those big games, I feel like I will excel in those situations,” he said via Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press. “I wanted to shoot my shot.”

Stafford acknowledged that the idea of a trade is something he and his wife Kelly started talking about last year, as they knew if 2020 wasn’t successful the Lions would be gearing up for yet another rebuild. At 33, Stafford didn’t think he had it in him. 

“To be honest, Kelly and I probably started talking about it before last season,” he said. “It was one of those things where, you know, we were hoping that, golly, let’s go, I hope this thing takes off and we play great. But if it doesn’t, you just knew what was going to happen. They were going to tear it down and rebuild. And anytime you switch GMs and a head coach, you know that they’re going to want to bring their own people in, and that’s going to take time. And I, frankly, didn’t feel like I was the appropriate person to oversee that time.”

For Stafford, the most important thing was joining a team that had all the pieces in place for him to really and truly compete for a title for the first time in his career, as opposed to more of the same in Detroit. 

“In my mind, I felt like I was going to be able to help us go win six, seven, eight games, because I wasn’t gonna let us lose more than that, you know?” Stafford added. “But I probably wasn’t good enough (by myself) to help us win more than that. And maybe we don’t ever get those top picks that we needed.”

Stafford said landing with the Rams was a surprise but a welcome one. 

“I thought all the places that everybody else thought. Indianapolis. San Francisco — although you didn’t know what was gonna happen with Jimmy. Washington, but we obviously didn’t know what was gonna happen there,” Stafford said. “I just didn’t know how [the Rams] would ever be able to [pull it off.] You know, I’m not a salary cap guru. It kind of got to a point where I’m like, OK, I can’t sit there and go crazy. I just tried to let it happen. And L.A. aggressively jumped into it.”

  • Stafford is often secretive about his injuries, but he revealed to Albom the full battery of ailments he played through in 2020, including the partially torn UCL in his thumb, a partially torn UCL in his left elbow, broken rib cartilage, an unspecified tear in the back of his left knee and a sprained right ankle. 

NFL Draft

  • NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah writes that he is curious to see whether teams target more 2022 NFL Draft picks in trades due to the limitations with scouting and lack of a combine this year.  

2021 Salary Cap

  • CNBC’s Jabari Young reports the NFL is looking to finalize the frameworks of new TV rights deals before announcing the salary cap ahead of the start of the league year on March 17. 
  • Current media deals pay the NFL a total of around $7.5 billion a year. Young notes the speculation is the new deals could bring in $10 billion a year for 10 years. 
  • Two sources told Young the holdup is figuring out who will take Thursday Night Football, which Fox, NBC and CBS are no longer interested in carrying. Had that issue been resolved, the deals could have been finalized in September. 
  • As for what it means for the cap in 2021, one person told Young a figure of $185 million was in play for this offseason, with that number shooting back up over $200 million in 2022. 
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