DISASTER or heartbreak? Which one do you want? If you’re a Sam Bradford booster, you’re about to be force-fed one or the other. As a fellow Eagles fan I’ll almost feel bad for enjoying your misery. Almost. Because the truth is, I’m sick of folks making excuse after excuse for this guy. The shorthand says that I’m supposed to be a fan of any Eagle on my team, but I can’t support a guy who is a big part of why it got worse instead of better.
Let’s start with heartbreak. Bradford’s boosters are sooo happy, that he’s sooo comfy with the system now. “His play has turned a corner!” “He’s become a leader now!” “Just wait until 2016!” That last one is my favorite by far, because it ties together the overarching theme of what the boosters are thinking. They expect Bradford to perform better within this system next year. They actually expect him back here next year.The odds are so stacked against that, that it’s almost ridiculous to envision it at all.
(Let me set the mood: Back when we drafted WR Jeremy Maclin and RB LeSean McCoy in 2009, both players alluded to their injury histories playing a role in deciding to enter the Draft early. They wanted to ensure some level of financial security in case the next football injury was their last. As young men still playing college ball, their football mortality was already on their minds. Now back to Bradford.)
After his second ACL injury, Bradford was considering quitting football. He was weighing it as recently as this calendar year. It was his college coach who talked him out of walking away from his NFL career. So after collegiate injury to his shoulder, and two pro injuries to his knees, you can bet your ass that financial security is very much on the mind of Sam Bradford. But how much security could he get?
Today Bradford is at the end of a rookie contract where he made 13 million this year. He gets to be an unrestricted Free Agent in just a couple of months, and in a league desperate for signal callers, Bradford on the open market could become a bidding war between the Eagles and teams like Dallas, Cleveland, San Francisco, Houston, possibly the Jets, and maybe even St. Louis again. So perhaps you think we should franchise him to keep him from entering the open market at all?
Franchise tags are the average of the top five contracts at the position, right? That would mean Aaron Rodgers (22M), Russell Wilson (21.9M), Ben Roethlisberger (21.8M), Eli Manning (21M), Phillip Rivers (20.8M). That works out to 21.5M for Sam Bradford next year even on a short-term deal. You may recall that the Eagles were trying to get Bradford to sign an extension during the preseason, but Bradford shot that down because he could see a bigger payday coming if he stayed healthy.
If the Eagles don’t pony up the cash for him, Bradford’s boosters will see him flee Philly over “just money”. All that time they spent defending him and piking him up as the Messiah, only to have him leave them standing at the altar over “just money”. I can already smell the burning jerseys.
Next up we have the disaster. Let’s say that the Eagles write that check. Hooray, right? Only if you’re a masochist. Serioulsy, 21.5M a year for a guy who’s never thrown more than 21 touchdowns in a 16 game season? 21.5M for a guy with fewer playoff wins than Tony Romo?? 21.5M for a guy who has never been on a .500 team??? It would just be 8M more than he’s making this season, but considering how much guaranteed money is tied up in other players, signing Bradford would mean that so much of the roster would have to be bargain bin level players.
Bradford has never proven that he’s a special QB. He has never demonstrated an ability to carry an NFL team. Seriously, when was the last time you heard of a QB attempting 59 passes in a single game with only one of them being a touchdown? His mediocrity is almost statistically impossible. Still, desperate teams will bid for him next year, and whoever gets him will be overpaying and limiting their teams options for adding help.
That team could be us! Oh goodie.
So either the Bradford apologists will have their hearts broken over “just money”; or they’ll get their wish and have to admit this time next year, that they spent the last two years backing an expensive lemon. A lemon whom we may be stuck shoveling years worth of guaranteed money into.
So it’ll be heartbreak or disaster. Either way, find yourself a Bradford booster to follow and screenshot their posts often. Because man, this one oughta be good.