Before opting to return for a seventh season as the Rams’ head coach, Sean McVay considered a number of uncertainties, both about himself and his club. But, it appears that the health of quarterback Matthew Stafford was not one of them.
Stafford won’t have any restrictions, according to McVay, when the Rams’ offseason practices get underway on April 17.
The 15-year-old Stafford played through right elbow tendonitis, recovered from a concussion, and a spinal bruise that ended his season and kept him out of the final seven games of the Rams’ awful 5-12 campaign.
“It’s been a long time since he’s been healthy through an offseason, where he’s been able to throw,” McVay said at the NFL owners meetings. “I was just with him the other morning where he was in there early working, being able to do the things that are in alignment with preparing for the season.”
Stafford, 35, great receiver Cooper Kupp, top defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and other key players will serve as the foundation for a squad that is not expected to sign any high-profile free agents this offseason.
Kupp, 29, just had ankle surgery that put a stop to the season. Due to an ankle injury, Donald, 31, missed the final six games of the previous season. The traditionally attention-grabbing Rams are experiencing a severe economic downturn while planning for 2024 and drafting players. They are depending on Stafford to get them into the playoffs.
The Rams traded Stafford, the first-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft, to the Detroit Lions in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, two first-round picks, and a third-round pick in 2021. By tossing 41 touchdown passes for the Rams during the regular season and guiding them to victory in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium, Stafford proved that the agreement was worthwhile.