Rams move training camp to LMU; Matthew Stafford's contract situation is unmoved


After conducting training camp at UC Irvine since their return to Los Angeles in 2016, the Rams this year are moving preseason workouts to Loyola Marymount, the team announced Tuesday.

Will starting quarterback Matthew Stafford, who wants his contract adjusted, be there when training camp opens in late July?

After watching Stafford go through the first workout of organized-team activities open to the media Tuesday, coach Sean McVay was asked if he was confident Stafford would be there for the start of training camp.

“I’m confident that he’s been out here leading the way,” McVay said.

If that sounds noncommittal, well, at least McVay is consistent.

Stafford, 36, is scheduled to earn $31 million this season and carry a salary-cap number of $49.5 million, according to Overthecap.com.

Stafford has two additional years left on the extension he signed in 2022 after leading the Rams to a Super Bowl title, but the salaries of $27 million and $26 million are not guaranteed, according to the website.

During the draft, McVay confirmed a report that Stafford wanted his contract adjusted to include guaranteed salary beyond this season. He also expressed confidence the Rams and Stafford would come to an agreement on his contract situation and that he would participate in OTAs.

“There’s nothing that’s more important than making sure that he feels appreciated,” McVay said at the time, “and he knows how much we love him and want him to lead the way and, you know, I think that the commitment that I think he wants to have can be reciprocated and we want to work toward figuring that out.”

In April, when the Rams opened their offseason workout program, Stafford was not among players made available to reporters. He was not made available to reporters Tuesday, and his availability during OTA workouts is to be determined, a team spokesman said.

“He’s here and we appreciate that and he knows that,” McVay said. “I’ve had good conversations with him about football, and anything other than that really just going to keep it in house.”

Stafford appeared sharp during drills and 11-on-11 situations. The quarterback’s contract situation is not affecting his preparation or play, receiver Cooper Kupp said.

“There’s been no change in his attitude, the way he comes in and approaches things, the way he’s interacting with guys in meetings, coaches and with guys out here,” Kupp said. “He’s a pro’s pro. He’s going to be out here and be the best version of Matthew for the team.

“And so, whatever’s going on with that, he’s not letting it affect anything about what the goal is for the L.A. Rams this year.”

It seems unfathomable the Rams would not work out an agreement with Stafford before training camp.

The 15-year veteran bounced back from injuries in 2022 and a thumb injury early last season and keyed the Rams’ unexpected run to the playoffs.

In March, the Rams signed veteran Jimmy Garoppolo to be Stafford’s backup but Garoppolo is suspended for the first two games — against the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals — for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substances policy when he played for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Stetson Bennett, a fourth-round draft pick in 2023, is participating in the offseason program after spending his rookie season on the NFL’s non-injury/illness list because of an unspecified issue. Bennett was not made available to reporters Tuesday.

“Stetson’s had a couple good days and it’s been good having him out here,” McVay said.

Quarterback Dresser Winn also is on the roster.

The depth chart for the opener against the Lions will come into clearer focus during training camp.

At Loyola Marymount, players, coaches and staff will return to living in dorms for several weeks. That will be a change from the last several years. The Rams were in dorms at Irvine for a few years, but during the last several years they stayed at a luxury hotel in Newport Beach and bused to the Irvine campus.

That travel time counted against the hours teams are allowed to practice and meet under terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

Fans will be allowed to attend select practices, the team announced, but the footprint at Loyola Marymount is smaller than Irvine.

“Our organization constantly looks to evolve our operations, and calling LMU home for these few weeks presents incredible opportunities for this new chapter of Rams Training Camp,” Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ chief operating officer said in a statement.

Etc.

Running back Kyren Williams will not participate in OTAs because of a foot issue, but he will be ready for training camp, McVay said. … Linebacker Ernest Jones IV was not in attendance because of an excused absence, McVay said. … New guard Jonah Jackson, who played last season for the Lions, is not participating in 11-on-11 situations because of “some things after the season” that made him “not quite ready,” for full participation, McVay said.



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