Who Does Sam Bradford Think he is?

(Photo via philly.com)

Gee, it must be great getting paid $36 million over two years to play football. Well, apparently, Sam Bradford doesn’t think so. As news broke that the Philadelphia Eagles packaged a horde of draft picks to move up to the 2nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, it became nearly certain that the Eagles had their sights set on Carson Wentz as their QB of the future, assuming Cal QB Jared Goff goes first. That left Sam Bradford, who just signed a 2 year, $36 million contract with the team, feeling “unwanted”. Now, he has made it clear he wants out of Philly, and is refusing to show up to any of the off-season workouts. If only he knew how lucky he was.

Keep in mind: although Philly has plans of drafting Wentz in the first round, Bradford was a lock for the Eagles starting job this year. The team wants to give Wentz at least a year or two to learn from the bench before taking the helm as starter. So, the job was all Bradford’s for the 2016 season, maybe the next season as well. Not only would Bradford be starting, but he would have a chance to display his skills to the league and hopefully get another hefty contract coming off of this current two-year deal. Most QBs in this league, a league with a 3-4 year average shelf-life, would kill to be in his position. But, obviously, the 2010 first round draft pick sees himself in a greater role.

Bradford’s agent, Tom Condon, expressed his client’s concerns regarding this situation. “Basically, our contention is that the team could have used the draft picks on offensive and defensive players for this season, to win this season. If the plan was to build for the future, where does that leave Sam this year?” (ESPN.com) Sure, Bradford has a point; he wants to be the franchise piece and not a stop-gap for their future solution at quarterback. But, he is completely missing the point. Frankly, when people think of Sam Bradford, they don’t think of a “franchise quarterback”. Instead, they think of an injury prone draft bust who has a losing record in his 5 years as an NFL starter. He’s averaging a million dollars earned for every touchdown thrown in his career, $58 million in career earning to go with 58 touchdown passes. His job isn’t to demand a safe home where he can play, his job is to compete and prove to NFL coaches around the league that he is truly the guy capable of manning the ship. Instead, his trade request just comes off as cowardice and spoiled.

I do not understand how Bradford feels entitled to this kind of “special treatment”. Maybe the money is getting to his head. Let’s not forget, he did receive the largest amount of guaranteed money at the time he was drafted. This was the year before the new CBA agreement created a rookie wage scale that significantly reduced the guaranteed money paid to rookies. Just for perspective, Bradford received a 6-year, $72 million contract ($50 million guaranteed) as a rookie. The next year, after the new CBA was implemented, Cam Newton (another fellow 1st overall pick) received a 4 year, $22 million contract. Cam is now the league’s reigning MVP, and Sam is the average QB who can’t quite understand what opportunity looks like.

No one was saying that by drafting Wentz this year that Bradford can’t be the Eagles starter for the future either. He simply could have worked harder and potentially outperform Wentz in training camp and retain his starting role for years to come. But he felt too pressured by Wentz, forcing this trade request. This surely says something about Bradford’s confidence level in his own game.

After this public outcry for a new home, this leaves Bradford in an even worse situation than he could have had. For one, even if he wants to be traded, that doesn’t mean other teams want to take care of this spoiled QB with a $36 million price tag to his name. And if he stays put in Philly, which seems like the likely option, he’s going to have to play through the harsh criticisms not only from the noisy Philly fans, but from his teammates. It remains to be seen how this move will affect his public image, but it seems certain that he’s not going to be that franchise player that he hopes for. Real franchise players let their play do the talking, not their contracts.

– J. Yellin

Extreme Makeover: Eagles Edition

(Photo via philly.com)

Man, it must be really hard to be an Eagles fan right about now. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any stranger than last off-season, when the Chip Kelly overhaul led to departures from LeSean McCoy, Nick Foles, and Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles decided to complete the purge of any and all of Kelly’s additions to the team. Just this week, only days before the free agency period gets underway, Philadelphia has traded away Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso, and DeMarco Murray (all starters that were acquired last year) for numerous draft picks. A sensible set of moves if you look at the cap space that it frees up, however, these latest transactions now have Eagles fans everywhere scrambling for answers. After three years, I think it’s safe to say that the Chip Kelly experiment crashed and burned.

Philadelphia fans all over thought that by acquiring the so-called offensive guru, Chip Kelly, they would revolutionize the game and be a force to be reckoned with.  Unfortunately, their high hopes turned to extreme skepticism when ownership decided to give Kelly complete control over the roster. In doing so, here is a “short” list of players that Kelly decided couldn’t fit his system: DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Nick Foles, and Jeremy Maclin. And those are just at the offensive skill positions; Eagles also parted ways with longtime edge rusher Trent Cole, and two-time pro bowl OL Evan Mathis.

But, Chip did not worry. He was certain that his acquisitions (Maxwell, Alonso, Murray, and Sam Bradford) would still fare well in his system. Well…that simply was not case. Instead, the Eagles went 7-9 on the year, fire Chip Kelly, and after this week, and are left worse off than they were before they ever hired him in 2013. The only piece left from this madness is Sam Bradford, who is an average NFL QB at best. But, Foles, who had a stellar 2013 season with the Eagles (27 TDs, 2 picks), looks to be the better option – and just another person that’s no longer with the team.

To begin, I have never been a big fan of Chip Kelly. I thought he was a good college coach, but I never believed any of the hype surrounding his journey to the NFL. The situation he has now put the Eagles in has me wondering what sort of upgrade Kelly can provide to the 49ers, if any at all. But now that their marriage is finally over, many are left puzzled by the current state of the Eagles. The fire-sale of talent that has taken place over the last few years in Philly has left them with a completely different (and weaker) team than many Eagles fans would have hoped for. Let’s just hope that the same mess doesn’t occur in San Francisco.

– J. Yellin