With the status of starting quarterback Matthew Stafford up in the air, the Los Angeles Rams decided to make a move during their bye week. After a disastrous performance by Brett Rypien in place of Stafford, who was dealing with a thumb injury, Los Angeles opted to sign veteran Carson Wentz.
It was the perfect time to make a move, as Wentz was afforded the bye week to help get up to speed with things. The Rams hadn’t shown interest previously until it became clear Rypien was not the answer for them.
“I think it’s really just a chance to upgrade the quarterback room,” McVay said of Wentz. “God forbid if something were to happen where [Stafford] wasn’t available, felt like this would offer an opportunity for somebody that’s played a lot of high-level football to get him in here, get him kind of familiar with some of the things that we’re doing. That’s what went into the decision.”
Wentz was the best quarterback available in free agency and will present the team with a huge upgrade to their depth chart. While his performance with the Washington Commanders and Indianapolis Colts the previous two seasons left something to be desired, he is at least capable of keeping the team afloat should the need arise.
Being a starter for his entire career, it is certainly an adjustment to becoming a backup. That was one of the reasons teams could have been shying away from Wentz, but McVay has been impressed by how the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft has handled the transition.
“He’s been a pro in every sense of the word,” McVay said. “Even when he came in for his physical last week, just kind of knew him just through kind of surface-level interaction but was just so impressed with how he’s approached this last week. Even just going through where he got a bunch of reps today in practice and the way that he handled it, the huddle command, the execution. I think he was just excited to be able to get into a building and be around a guy like Matthew. They both have tremendous respect for one another. [I] thought [quarterbacks coach] Zac Robinson did a really good job of spending a lot of time over the bye of getting him familiar and acquainted with a lot of the general information. He’s been exposed to a lot of football but he was a pro in every sense and we’re glad to have him in the building.”
Turning only 31 in December, Wentz could have plenty left in the tank to offer a team. While he hasn’t gotten back to the MVP level he showed before an injury in 2017, he still represents an upgrade for many teams, including the Rams, as a backup.
But, are there plans beyond the 2023 season in place for Wentz in Los Angeles? That wasn’t something McVay was ready to commit to, as they are taking things one day at a time.
“I think that’s to be determined,” McVay told reporters. “I think we were just excited about being able to get him in the building. We had a need. And like I had mentioned, we’re excited about getting Matthew [Stafford] back, but I think to have somebody that’s played as well as he’s played, has had as many experiences as he’s had to be out there and available is kind of rare. So we were excited about the opportunity to be able to get him into the building and that’s kind of where we’re at right now as it relates to that.”
With retirement talk surrounding Stafford this offseason, there is a chance the Rams will be in the market for a new starter in the 2024 offseason. Wentz could have a leg up on the competition spending the second half of 2023 with the team and acclimating himself to how things are done within the franchise.