I understand why the Eagles re-signed Sam Bradford. It’s a weak NFC East, winnable by any team that gets hot and stays healthy. Bradford ain’t Aaron Rodgers, but he’s the ablest starting quarterback they could get for this season.
And I sure understand why the Eagles drafted Carson Wentz. It’s close to impossible to win a title without a franchise QB. So why not go all in for a kid who seems to have the tools, smarts and attitude to become an NFL star?
What I don’t understand is the Man in the Middle. Chase Daniel will be paid $7 million this season to stand between Bradford and Wentz holding a clipboard. It’s the 25th highest salary of any QB in the NFL, and second-biggest paycheck of any projected backup. (Hello, Nick Foles.)
If Bradford stays healthy, Daniel won’t play. If Bradford gets hurt, there’s no reason he should start ahead of the rookie Wentz. You could argue that Wentz would be better served watching from the sidelines this season, but I’m of the mind that if and when the Eagles drop from contention, they should hand the keys to the kid. That’s the way it works for high-choice rookie QBs in the NFL — from Peyton Manning to Luck to RGIII to Mariota and Winston.
Sometimes, a backup QB takes over and keeps a team going. There’s no better example of this than Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who once led the Buffalo Bills to the greatest comeback victory in NFL history.
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Is Daniel that guy? In a seven-year career, the 6-foot-nothing QB has thrown exactly one TD pass in 77 attempts. His average completion has covered 9 yards. His career highlight film runs shorter than Marcus Smith’s.
He’s here, we are told, in large part because he fully comprehends the offensive scheme employed by new coach Doug Pederson. He can help pass that along to both Bradford and Wentz. OK. Just for clarification, Pederson played QB in the NFL, as did Reich. The Eagles also have a quarterbacks coach in John DeFilippo. How complex can this offense be that it needs this many tutors?
If Bradford stays healthy for 2016, none of this much matters. But he won’t. Only half of the NFL’s 32 teams had one starting QB through all of last season. And Bradford has never shown himself to be a Brett Favre-type Iron Man. I’ll put the over/under on games missed at 5 1/2 for Sammy Sleeves.
Still, for now, Pederson plans to start the season with Wentz as the inactive third QB, meaning he can’t even enter a game if Bradford goes down. Daniel gets the first tap on the shoulder. Makes no sense to me.
Sure, let’s see — perhaps against logic — if Bradford can keep the Eagles in contention through the first half of this season. But if Bradford can’t, or gets hurt, there’s no sense wasting time with the Man in the Middle. All that would do is delay the future.