Despite its likely negative impact on the 2016 season, the Sam Bradford trade is being largely heralded as a coup for Philadelphia, and Howie Roseman in particular.
Why? Read on.
1. Someone overpaid for Sam Bradford. Again.
The first round pick Chip Kelly claimed he was offered for Bradford finally materialized Saturday. This is the second time a team has spent a first round pick on Bradford. Teams have also spent a total of $113 million on Bradford so far in his career and have yet to be compensated with a playoff appearance or winning season.
2. The Eagles aren't in a position to win now.
The second-to-last roster cut of the pre-season, which saw the jettisoning of Rueben Randle, Chris Givens, and Mike Martin, was a signal that the Eagles are entering a rebuild, especially on offense. That rebuild starts with youth, not veterans. These were a significant portion of the veterans signed this off-season to shore up weak spots and add depth and in the end, that attempt didn’t work.
3. Bradford didn't want to be here.
All the “Sam is our guy” coach-speak and retroactive “happy to be here, happy to compete” from Bradford aside, he made a very clear statement in the days leading up to the Eagles selection of Carson Wentz. Well, Bradford got his wish, and the Eagles are better off without the quarterback who let his agent run around disparaging the quality of his teammates.
4. Bradford can't elevate the supporting cast in Philadelphia.
Throughout his career, there have been many defenses of Bradford. Chief among them is the continued lack of a good offense surrounding him. While questioning the receivers he had in his time in St. Louis and last year with the Eagles is justifiable, this years’ group holds no better promise.
If Bradford had had another poor season, this defense would be there again, ready and waiting. But it’s hard to remember Austin Collie and Brandon Stokley thriving with quarterbacks that weren’t named Peyton Manning. At a certain point it falls on Bradford to elevate his teammates rather than rely on them, or for the Eagles to find a quarterback who can.
5. The trade language guards against the Vikings’ success.
Obviously, the worse the Vikings do this season the better that first round draft pick looks. It’s unlikely it will be as high as the one the Eagles will have given up to get Wentz. But, the fourth round pick the Eagles received turns into a third rounder if the Vikings make the NFC Championship game and a second rounder if they make the Super Bowl. That’s a pretty good consolation prize if the Eagles wind up with a bottom of the barrel first round pick.
6. It opens a roster spot.
With Bradford designated as a starter and Wentz expected to begin the season with the third string, it was necessary for the Eagles to keep three quarterbacks on the roster. Now, if they’re comfortable with Wentz starting and Daniel as the backup, that roster spot can go to another position where it will be desperately needed.
7. Sam Bradford is not that good.
The quarterback the Vikings would have used had they not traded for Bradford, Shaun Hill, has a career quarterback rating of 85.2. Bradford’s is 81.0 Hill has a higher career completion percentage and yards per attempt than Bradford.
While we’re on completion percentage, Bradford also has a lower career one than Robert Griffin III and Chase Daniel. His one career year above 61 percent came in Kelly’s offense, where he broke a franchise record set the year before by Mark Sanchez. In two years in Kelly’s scheme Sanchez had marks of 64.1 and 64.8 percent. In four other seasons he’s topped 55% just once.
Bradford has played enough games to qualify for QBR rankings three times in his career. He has placed 25th, 30th, and 31st last season. He is trending in the wrong direction.