If you’re an Eagles fan and have a twitter account, you’ve probably seen someone say something about Sam Bradford.
Ranging anywhere from “there’s no choice, he has to come back” to “he is garbage, don’t waste a dime paying him,” as the internet rages onthe Eagles have been completely mum about their plans at the quarterback spot.
Today’s minor headline, that the Birds were bringing back Najee Goode on a one-year deal was just the latest in a steady stream of re-signings (Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Vinny Curry) that shows the Eagles are looking toward winning in the short term, not the long term.
Will Sam Bradford be the team’s stop-gap solution in an effort to contend for a playoff spot in 2016? Here are five reasons why the quarterback should return to Philadelphia.
1. He’s the best available
The Eagles pick 13th overall and have no second round pick. There will be no franchise quarterback availablein that spot.
In free agency, the top names (ones like Kirk Cousins and Brock Osweiler) will likely remain with their currentteams and the other names (like Chase Daniel, Kellen Clemens and Matt Cassell) are not any kind of upgrade.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a free agent, but at 33-years-old, the only reason the Birds would call on him would be to help mentor a young quarterback prospect. Compared to the alternatives, Bradford is far and away the best available.
2. His strong finish
Over his last six starts after returning from injury last season, Bradford completed 175 of 256 passes for 1,959 yards and 10 touchdowns for a 99.1 rating. After a very average start to the year from a stats perspective, Bradford really turned it on as he learned the system and got comfortable on his twice surgically repaired knee.
The trend suggests that Bradford will be more confident and steady in his age 28 season.
3. He knows the personnel
When Bradford was traded to Philadelphia from the Rams, he had to start from scratch. As a teammate, as a leader and as a quarterback. Early in 2015, there were a bevy of drops and obvious miscommunications, but as the season progressed these mistakes became less frequent.
“I’ve seen his execution fuel his confidence,” wide receiver JordanMatthews said back in December of Bradford.”He is getting more comfortable witheverybody. … He’s getting to know his personnel better. He knows his guys. With [tight end Zach] Ertz he is putting those balls high and away to put Ertz in a good position to make plays. He is giving Josh [Huff] room to run. He is really feeding our strengths.”
4. He doesn’t need to stay long term
Adam Schefter, ESPN’s NFL insider said the Eagles are not putting the franchise tag on Bradford. He’s also is saying the Eagles are interested in Nick Foles. Regardless of Schefter’sreporting, the Eagles would be smart to give Bradford the tag, keeping him for one year at around $20 million.
But if they are looking at the contract route, Howie Roseman is showing he knows his stuff with team-friendly deals to recent signees like Celek. The Eagles could conceivablyink Bradford to a back-loaded deal with guaranteed money up front, allowing them to, in theory, cut Bradford after two seasons or so without much financial burden.
5. He’s the Eagles’ second-round pick
When Chip Kelly swapped Foles for Bradford, he also had to send a second-rounder to St. Louis. That’s a high price to pay to simply rent a player for one season. If the Eagles wanted to keep Bradford around under Kelly things shouldn’t change much in that regard under Doug Pederson.
The Birds will not have a second round pick in April — essentially Bradford is their second round pick. And thinking from that perspective would bring about the conclusion that a Heisman Trophy and Rookie of the Year award winner is a pretty good second round pick.