With the Eagles continuing to privately workout Quarterbacks from this years Draft class, concerns over the teams belief in Bradford are beginning to surface. Three projected first round Quarterbacks and two projected mid rounders have spent time with the likes of Doug Pederson, Howie Roseman, Jeffery Lurie and Frank Reich..but it doesn’t mean that Bradford’s situation or future is in jeopardy.
Since the moment Doug Pederson stepped foot into the NovaCare Complex, he made it very clear that he wants a “project Quarterback”. By definition, this is a developmental player who can sit behind your starter for a few years and perfect his craft until his time as a starter arrives.
It’s also important to note that all of the Quarterbacks who the Eagles have worked out/going to work out have a lot of potential..but have varying levels of current ability. They all have flaws but as stated before, this is a Quarterback league. There is so much pressure to find the next elite QB that prospects are perhaps undeservingly pushed up the draft order as teams race through starters faster than Ezekiel Elliot runs a40-yard dash in order to find their Franchise guy.
I’m not discrediting the talent of guys like Carson Wentz or Jared Goff..but it is highly debatable as to whether or not they are ready to start 16 games in the NFL. Luckily for the Eagles, they are not after a player who can come in and make an impact straight away when it comes to Quarterback.
Regardless of whether or not the Eagles draft a Quarterback, the plan will remain the same. Sam Bradford’s contract runs for two years but is structured in a way that means IF he endures a season that falls short of expectation, the Eagles can get out of the contract without taking much of a cap hit.
This contract was set in place for numerous reasons and none of which were to do with the belief or lack of it in Sam Bradford.
- There are still doubts about his durability over the course of a full season.
- Whilst showing signs of improvement, the level of play didn’t warrant a blockbuster deal.
- Bradford’s contract is embedded with incentives.
- Tom Condon (Bradford’s agent) had a much higher valuation of his player compared to the Eagles that resulted in extensive negotiations.
- A 2 year deal with $22M initially guaranteed gives Bradford the money he and his agent desire whilst still giving the Eagles an escape road if things don’t go as planned.
With Chase Daniel added as a backup behind Bradford, the Eagles have a 28 year old and a 29 year old. Pederson essentially wants to take a Quarterback under his wing in what is an extremely Quarterback friendly coaching system and groom him for when the time is right.
If the Eagles are 100% certain that the guy they’re after is someone like Carson Wentz then so be it. Whether we agree or disagree with the idea of taking a QB in the first round or trading up for one is irrelevant. What is relevant is the role that the Quarterback is going to play.
If the Eagles for instance drafted a Quarterback in the first round, the media would go into a frenzy and talk about Sam Bradford’s job security..but why?
Bradford still has every opportunity to prove himself in Philadelphia. After earning a new contract, it would be crazy for the Eagles to spend close to $60M on base salaries on two Quarterbacks only to then disregard the plan entirely or assume that Bradford has been pushed out of the spotlight.
This season at least belongs to Sam Bradford. There should be no debate about the Eagles having confidence or a lack of it in the former Heisman Trophy winner. If he had signed a 5-year deal worth close to $80M-$90M then absolutely. But he hasn’t. The contract is structured to metaphorically push Bradford onto the stage, give him a microphone and see what he can do after earning a call back following a successful audition. Has he got the part? Nobody knows..but it’s his opportunity.
Both parties signed a 2-year deal fully knowing what it means. Do you really think if Bradford leads his team to a playoff appearance that Pederson will get rid of him and start a young, growing Quarterback? Absolutely not. If Bradford goes out there and proves he is the guy, expect a big contract extension. If he doesn’t play as well as expected..then his agent can pursue more financially favorable deals through Free Agency.
This wasn’t a deal to sign a Franchise Quarterback and everyone in the organization is aware that calling Bradford “A franchise Quarterback” at this stage is absurd. He’s the starter, he’s the leader, he’s the guy going forward..but will he be “the guy” in 5 years time? That’s what this contract has been structured for.
If the Eagles draft a Quarterback through trading up or in the later rounds, the outcome is irrelevant. The birds are simply putting the finishing touches on a long term plan in preparation for every scenario. Drafing a QB has nothing to do with how the Eagles feel about Sam Bradford’s ability or potential.
There is no bonafide starter in this years draft, what there is however is an abundance of “project” potential. An abundance of potential that the Eagles would be silly not to tap into if they do wish to begin nurturing a young talent under two very experienced Quarterbacks. Whether they should take a Quarterback or not in the first is largely up for debate..whether this impacts the Eagles confidence in Sam Bradford, is simply not.