SAM Bradford is by no means a favorite of mine, but let’s be fair here. While there can be no doubt that he damaged his standing in the locker room with his trade demanding, OTA holdout, hissy-fit; his place was made shaky by the Eagles Front Office well before his histrionics ever began.
The first shot was new Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson talking up Chief’s back-up Chase Daniel as being worthy of starting in mid-February. This is prior to re-signing Sam Bradford on March 1st.
If you recall, Bradford and his agent wanted 25M per year and the Eagles were sending the signal already that they already were looking at Daniel as a guy who could replace Bradford. This says to the locker room that the HC feels their starter could be replaced by a career back-up. That’s damage.
So Bradford re-signs, and the Chase Daniel thing is dismissed as a negotiating ploy. However, eight days later, Daniel is signed to more money than you would normally sign even a good back-up to. This raised eyebrows across the Delaware Valley and even had my guru Rhodie, shaking his head without verbal comment. (If you ask him about it still, he merely chuckles under his breath. I’m not sure what’s going on in that head of his, but my eyes are WIDE open.) If it raised eyebrows among fans and media (some of whom are former NFL players), you can bet it raised eyebrows among Eagles players. More damage.
Following all that, the Eagles then moved heaven and Earth, mortgaged the future, traded the farm (pick your favorite expression) to move up six spots from #8 to #2. At this point the writing was on the wall that they would be selecting a QB. For my part I did my best to look around it, over it, past it… I saw it coming but I HATED the idea. At this point though you can’t say that the speculation was adding to the damage, since nothing was concrete.
Then came the concrete. The Eagles drafted Carson Wentz #2 overall and THAT sent a clear message to not only the roster, but through the entire league. There was nothing subtle about it. For Bradford it was like waking up with a “Dear John” letter nailed to his forehead. His contract had become a countdown. Now everyone in the locker room would know he wasn’t The Man, he was just the guy warming The Man’s seat for him. That’s real damage right there.
So then if Bradford isn’t The Man, who is he?
Sam Bradford is the guy who takes the hits while the O-Line learns the new blocking scheme. Damage.
Sam Bradford is the guy who has to figure things out through trial and error, while Wentz watches the process refine itself. Damage.
Sam Bradford is the guy to absorb the losses on HIS record as the team acclimates to all the new things they have to relearn or unlearn after three years of (TIK). Damage.
Sam Bradford is the patsy in all this. He’s very well paid for the role (no doubt), but he’s the fall guy here. And that situation was set up well in advance of his hissy-fit.
He has undoubtedly lost this locker room and he is no position to get it back. That is unless something unspeakably tragic happens to Wentz and Bradford finally, miraculously finds his niche in the NFL. Aside from that combination of events though, we have to be fair. The Eagles damaged Bradford well before he did.
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