Rams signing QB Carson Wentz offers upside behind Matthew Stafford

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With Matthew Stafford still nursing a sore right thumb on his throwing hand, the Los Angeles Rams made a move to bolster their depth at the position for now, and potentially for the future.

According to reports, the Rams signed Carson Wentz as the team’s backup and released Dresser Winn from the team’s practice squad. 

With Stafford out last week because of a sprained UCL in his right thumb, the Rams played backup Brett Rypien against the Green Bay Packers. The fourth-year QB struggled and the Rams lost 20-3. Rypien was waived on Tuesday. The team may bring him back on the practice squad if he clears waivers.

“We’re going to look at a lot of different things over this break here,” coach Sean McVay said of the Rams’ Week 10 bye. 

The Rams tried to bring back John Wolford last week, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed the Wake Forest product from the team’s practice squad to the active roster. 

Los Angeles drafted Georgia product Stetson Bennett in the fourth round of this year’s draft as a potential developmental prospect, but he has been on the non-football injury report all season with an undisclosed issue. 

Wentz last played in the NFL for the Washington Commanders last year. He suffered a dislocated finger and was booed off the field in his final start for Washington. The Commanders released him in February.

Wentz was selected No. 2 overall in the 2016 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, with the Rams passing on the North Dakota State product to take Jared Goff No. 1 overall. Wentz developed into an MVP candidate early in his career but has mostly been a disappointment in three NFL stops, with the Eagles, Indianapolis Colts and Commanders. 

Carson Wentz signs with Rams to back up Matthew Stafford

Carson Wentz signs with Rams to back up Matthew Stafford

Wentz has a 46-45-1 record as a starter in seven NFL seasons. He has completed 62.6% of his passes for 22,129 yards, with 151 touchdowns and 66 interceptions. According to reports, during the offseason Wentz worked with Jon Gruden, a former mentor of McVay’s. 

At 3-6 heading into the bye week, the Rams needed a legitimate option behind the 35-year-old Stafford, who has dealt with injuries since Los Angeles engineered an offseason trade for him two years ago, sending two first-round picks, a third-rounder and Goff to the Detroit Lions.

Stafford played through nagging elbow and back injuries during L.A.’s Super Bowl season. In 2022, he missed the last seven games with a bruised spinal cord and dealt with concussion and lingering elbow issues.

This year, Stafford has played through a hip injury and missed last week’s game with the thumb injury.

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The Rams have no long-term answer at the QB position should they choose to move on from Stafford or if he retires at the end of the season. Baker Mayfield played well for L.A. at the end of last season but signed with Tampa Bay in free agency because he wanted a chance to compete for a starting job.

The addition of Wentz gives the Rams another player they are intimately familiar with from their pre-draft evaluation seven years ago. At that point he was a first-round talent, and he’s still relatively young at 30 years old. Now it’s up to McVay to quickly groom Wentz to play well within his system. 

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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