Rams signing Jimmy Garoppolo is smart with Stetson Bennett’s future in doubt

The Los Angeles Rams tried to invest in the backup quarterback position last year by drafting Stetson Bennett in the fourth round, a decision that has yet to pan out. Bennett spent his rookie year on the non-football illness list for an undisclosed reason, remaining away from the team from September on.

We still don’t know why Bennett was suddenly out of football, but one thing is clear: The Rams don’t exactly trust him to get back on track anytime soon. That was made obvious by Sean McVay and Les Snead, who both said this offseason that they don’t know if Bennett will return in 2024 and that they’re acting as if they don’t have a QB on the roster behind Matthew Stafford.

Well, they do now after agreeing to a one-year deal with Jimmy Garoppolo on Friday – ironically, on the same day that Aaron Donald retired after 10 seasons. Rams fans may not like Garoppolo much, whether it’s because of his low ceiling as a passer or the fact that he’s 8-0 against their team in his regular-season career, but this is a smart move by Los Angeles.

Bennett’s future is very much in doubt and Carson Wentz, as impressive as he was in Week 18 against San Francisco, is still a big question mark in the NFL; it’s why he drew no interest from any other teams last season.

Garoppolo is the type of quarterback who can keep the ship afloat if Stafford misses any time at all – something the Rams have to prepare for, considering he’s missed at least one game in three of his last five seasons and is now 36 years old. He may not be a flashy quarterback or someone with great mobility like Wentz and some of the other backups the Rams have had over the years, but he’s a game manager capable of operating an offense similar to the one he ran under Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco.

And with the playmakers the Rams have, he just has to limit turnovers and not make costly mistakes. Get the ball into the hands of Puka Nacua, Cooper Kupp and Kyren Williams and let them pick up yards after the catch, which is how Garoppolo made a living in San Francisco around Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk.

We have yet to see the contract details of Garoppolo’s one-year deal but it’s not going to be overly expensive. He’s a 32-year-old backup who struggled in Las Vegas last season. It’s not as if there was going to be a bidding war for him. Plus, he’s suspended for the first two games of the season due to a PED violation so that’ll take two game checks away from him in 2024.

After seeing Brett Rypien fumble his opportunity to start against Green Bay last year, the Rams needed a better backup and that’s what Garoppolo is. There’s little reason not to like this move for Los Angeles, who has an aging starting quarterback and a Super Bowl window that’s open next season.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire