The Eagles may have re-signed/extended five players this off-season but the most important remains in limbo. As it stands, Sam Bradford is set to walk in to Free Agency and with the opinions both fans and analysts on both the local and national scale split down the middle, it remains one of the most intriguing storylines to watch in the NFL off-season..but for how much longer? Over the last few days there have been plenty of signs hinting towards the Eagles making a move to retain Sam Bradford..here are the five most important.
5) The Eagles want Sam back
If the recent quotes of Howie Roseman are anything to go by, it’s clear that the Eagles are going to try to retain Sam Bradford.
“We like Sam, and we’d like to have him back”, Roseman claimed in a recent interview with the Philly media. ” “Sometimes we get into a situation where we sit here and it will make sense from the team’s perspective but when you’re talking about a negotiation, it’s also got to work for the other side and the player, and we understand that. But hopefully this will all work out..”
It’s not the first time we’ve seen a vote of confidence from the Eagles front-office. Pederson has previously endorsed the former Heisman trophy winner numerous times so it should come as no surprise..but what is surprising is that there has been very little movement on the situation. This quote alone kind of puts the ball in the court of Bradford and more importantly his agent and as predicted his future could come down to a war in the board room..but will his agent be willing to settle for a deal that may not match his ambitious valuation?
4) Malcolm Jenkins contract extension
The Eagles have a very clear direction under Pederson and Roseman, to build a foundation for the five years that the former Chiefs Offensive Coordinator is set to be in charge by securing the some of the teams biggest playmakers through the duration of his contract. However it doesn’t end there.
By signing Jenkins to a five year extension, the Eagles have actually saved $1.5m in cap space, moving the teams projected cap space to $27.5m after the raise. With many speculating a Bradford deal would cost between $15-$18m or a $20m franchise tag, freeing up cap room by extending the big playmakers certainly kills two birds with one stone..but is Bradford really the epicenter of these moves? Only time will tell..
3) The support of the locker room
It’s been well documented that the locker room is standing behind Sam Bradford. From Jordan Matthews to Zach Ertz, Brent Celek to Lane Johnson..there are plenty of players who have openly expressed their desire to see Bradford return and if you take into account what Lurie wants from his team after watching metaphorically Kelly blow up the locker room, this is very important.
Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.Com shed even more light on just how many people want to see Bradford return in a report earlier today.
“Without question. We need him,” said a player on offense.
“I really hope [he comes back],” said another.
“I don’t want to rebuild. We can win with Sam,” said another.
It certainly sounds as though Sam has the locker room stood behind him…but will the front office be looking to do the same?
2) A sign from above
If it’s cap space you’re worried about..there may be a silver lining. According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, the already increasing Salary Cap could be set to see ANOTHER raise of around $1.5-$2m per team…now whilst that doesn’t sound like a lot, when you’re trying to secure the future of your franchise it’s everything. This would see the Eagles cap move to around $30m….leaving them plenty of room to negotiate and giving them more of a level playing field if they are to compete for his services with other teams in Free-Agency..something that they didn’t have until very recently after a string off very smart off-season moves.
1) The market is much more lucrative than you might think
According to NFL Insider Jason Cole, the market for Sam Bradford might be a little more complex than originally imagined. To summarise the video posted on Bleacher Report, Cole said the following about Bradford;
“Sam Bradford is the most likely No. 1 target for lots of teams as they head into free agency. Now Bradford is expected to re-sign with the Eagles by most teams, however, he will not be franchised.”
“However, if Bradford ultimately goes out on the market, don’t expect him to get the huge money that a lot of people would anticipate for a quarterback. He may basically have to sign a one-year deal on a prove-it measure with some team to eventually get to the kind of big money that he ultimately thinks he probably deserves at this point in time.”
So, how does this benefit the Eagles besides the obvious? Well whilst Sam Bradford could have a lot of interest, his agent is likely going to want a big deal. Considering that the final year of his rookie deal was effectively already a one-year trial period to determine his future in Philadelphia, another scenario would see Bradford become unsettled with the situation considering how many changes in the NFL he has already had to deal with and could also see him rapidly become a journeyman Quarterback.
If it’s stability he wants and a big deal his agent demands, Philadelphia might have the upper hand due to already signing him to a “prove-it” type deal last season. It’s safe to say he proved his worth and earned his stripes and when you take into account the direction that the Eagles are moving with their five off-season contract extensions/re-signings..it’s fair to assume that if a deal were to be offered that it would be long term…the question is, will it happen?