Rams signing QB Carson Wentz as Matthew Stafford insurance

Nov 7, 2023, 4:30 PM

Carson Wentz...

Carson Wentz #11 formerly of the Washington Commanders warms up before his game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams are signing quarterback Carson Wentz, a person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press.

The source spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday because Wentz needed to pass a physical before the deal could be announced. Los Angeles is on its bye week.

Wentz has been out of the NFL this season after starting seven games last year for the Washington Commanders. The seven-year NFL veteran was Philadelphia’s starter for five years, and he started all 17 games for Indianapolis in 2021.

The Rams (3-6) are in need of another passer behind Matthew Stafford, who missed Los Angeles’ dismal loss at rainy Green Bay last weekend with a sprained thumb ligament. The Rams are on a three-game losing streak, falling to 8-18 since winning the Super Bowl.

Backup Brett Rypien was the only other quarterback on the Rams’ roster before Stafford’s injury, and he struggled to a 13-of-28 performance with two fumbles and an interception in Los Angeles’ 20-3 loss.

The Rams waived Rypien on Tuesday, a necessary move if the team intends to put him back on its practice squad.

Rams coach Sean McVay said Monday he is optimistic about Stafford playing in their next game against Seattle on Nov. 19, but the signing of Wentz indicates the Rams want insurance in case the injury lingers or Stafford gets hurt again.

Los Angeles attempted to make it through the season with Stafford and Rypien as the only quarterbacks on their roster. The Rams drafted Stetson Bennett in the fourth round last spring, but the two-time national champion at Georgia has been away from the team since the preseason for undisclosed reasons.

Stafford missed the second half of last season with a bruised spinal cord, and the Rams struggled with backups John Wolford and Bryce Perkins. Los Angeles then acquired Baker Mayfield, who led the Rams to a win over Las Vegas two days after signing and eventually resuscitated his career enough to earn a new contract as Tampa Bay’s starter this season.

Rams general manager Les Snead chose Jared Goff over Wentz as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft after extensively evaluating both quarterbacks. Goff led the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance, and he was later traded to Detroit in the package for Stafford, who won the Super Bowl in his first season with Los Angeles.

Wentz has passed for 22,129 yards and 151 touchdowns in his NFL career. He was in the midst of a standout season for the Eagles in 2017 until he incurred a season-ending knee injury during a game against the Rams, and Nick Foles went on to lead Philadelphia to a Super Bowl title.

Wentz’s career has been a saga of high expectations and many missed opportunities for his teams, but he has posted respectable numbers at every stop. He passed for a career-best 4,039 yards for the Eagles in 2019, but lost his starting job to Jalen Hurts in 2020.

Wentz then played well for the Colts in 2021, passing for 3,563 yards with 27 TD passes and just seven interceptions. Washington then acquired Wentz in March 2022 for a second-round pick and a third-round pick, but Wentz was inconsistent even before he broke his ring finger in October and lost the Commanders’ starting job to Taylor Heinecke.

Washington released the 30-year-old Wentz last February with two years left on his contract, and he went unsigned through the offseason.

The Rams also waived running back Myles Gaskin and defensive tackle Cory Durden on Tuesday and dropped quarterback Dresser Winn from the practice squad. The team re-signed Winn last week after Stafford’s injury.

Los Angeles faces the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 26. Wentz is 2-0 in starts against the Cardinals over his career.

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