The Eagles finally answered the what’s now a $36 million question of whether or not Sam Bradford would return in 2016 after a debut season of mixed success. The contract at first glance appears to be simple enough..but recent reports indicate that it’s anything but. Here’s what we know so far and what we can take away from the new deal.
This is where the most misconception lies. The $36M contract is broken up as follows:
$11M signing bonus
$7M Base salary for 2016
$4M Roster bonus (to be applied March 17th 2017 if he’s still on the roster)
$13M Base salary for 2017 ($4M Guaranteed, another $4M guaranteed in injury incentive)
Playoff incentives (expected total to reach close to $40M)
For those still scratching their heads, Sam Bradford is set to make $18M in 2016. If the Eagles cut Bradford by the 17th of March for whatever reason, the Eagles will lose $9.5M.
The Eagles signal caller will receive $22M guaranteed, ($2M more than a franchise tag) should he stay the duration of his contract. If the Eagles trade Bradford to another team after the 2016 season, it would only cost them $5.5m.
There’s roughly $3.5m in incentives and a $4m roster bonus that triggers on March 17th next year.
So now that we’ve cleared that up…what can we take away from the new contract?
Watch the cap:
The Eagles are still very aware of their current Salary Cap situation and how it’s going to be crucial at the end of next season with so many players entering their final year of contract in 2016..hence why the Eagles likely were reluctant to fork out massively to retain Bradford. The expected cap number is at around $17M after the contract is made official which still leaves the birds plenty of room to make other moves.
The Eagles likely didn’t want to pay Bradford the salary that Condon felt he deserved and if that was the case, he probably didn’t want his client there long term. So what the Eagles effectively did was pay him $18m in year one which ranks him 15th in the NFL.
After year one, Bradford either has the chance to renegotiate for a better deal if he has a big season or if things do go badly..it won’t cost much for the Eagles to either cut him or trade him.
The Eagles now have a “Bridge” Quarterback in Sam Bradford. If he flourishes under such a Quarterback friendly coaching tree and flies in Pederson’s system then there’s every reason to re-negotiate to a bigger deal and have him lead the team into 2017 and beyond but like his last season in Philadelphia, his first year of the two year deal is very much a “prove it” year. A big season holds big rewards but if after 2017 he doesn’t lead the team to a playoff appearance or fails to impress…we’ll get to that shortly.
Bradford takes a healthy year one salary with the enticement for more with incentives in year 2 and of course a quicker return to Free Agency where he can test for a bigger paycheck if he or his agent wishes.
A two-year deal with $18M in year one likely means that the Eagles are going to pursue a Quarterback in the draft to learn under Bradford which is the dream scenario for the birds. They met with Paxton Lynch at the combine as well as Keenan Reynolds. Whether they will decide to take a Quarterback with their first rounder is still widely up for debate, but a player that can grow and develop in a QB Friendly coaching system and an insurance policy behind Bradford in case of injury or otherwise is not a bad plan. If Bradford excels like many hope then the Eagles have their man…if he doesn’t, they might just have him by the time we reach that bridge.