With their loss to Washington Saturday night, the Philadelphia Eagles' focus is no longer on the postseason. And though they have one game remaining, no one in Philadelphia will be paying much attention to a meaningless game against the New York Giants. Instead, it's on to the offseason, where the top storyline will undoubtedly be the Eagles' quarterback situation.
So far, it seems both the Eagles and Sam Bradford are interested in one another. Chip Kelly said recently that he wants to retain Bradford. And after the game Saturday, Bradford returned the sentiment.
"You know, I want to be back here, like I said," Bradford explained. "Obviously, we are not at the stage where we have been talking about that, but if it does present itself and I do have the opportunity, then this is where I want to be."
Bradford has had an up-and-down first season in Philadelphia. Through 15 games he's thrown for 3,025 yards, 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. These numbers are far from eye-popping, but it's unfair to place all the blame on his extra-large shoulder pads. And as he said, learning a new offense while the offense also brought in two new starting linemen, two starting wide receivers and a host of new players is tough.
"I think throughout my career, I've learned that learning new offenses every year, it's just hard to continue to improve," Bradford said. "You are always learning. You are learning new verbiage, learning new plays, learning new systems. And I would really like to stay in the same one and have the opportunity to play a second year."
For what it's worth, Bradford has the support of several players in the locker room, especially wide receiver Jordan Matthews.
"I want that to be my guy. And I wholeheartedly believe he has to be the guy moving forward," Matthews said. "You’ve seen progression, you’ve seen how much better he’s gotten, you’ve seen the chemistry that he’s been able to build with me, Zach [Ertz], some of the other receivers ... He’s got that eye of the tiger. He’s got that skill set. He’s got the body type. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to keep him upright, and then we’ve got to go make plays for him."
Matthews wasn't the only one to echo that sentiment. Tight end Zach Ertz acknowledged that continuity is important.
"I want to go into the offseason with the same quarterback," Ertz said. "We had that with Nick [Foles] one offseason; he got hurt the following year. And it’s hard. We want Sam back. Ultimately it’s not going to be our decision."
The good news for Bradford (and those teammates who want him back in 2016) is that the former Ram has plenty of leverage. Behind Bradford on the depth chart is Mark Sanchez, who played poorly in two games this year, and not much else. The Eagles could draft someone or bring in a vet like Robert Griffin III, sure, but neither option is a sure thing.
Another year of Sam Bradford might not make a massive difference, but some competition could be beneficial regardless. Whether he's the Eagles' starter in 2016, it's fairly likely both sides will reach some kind of agreement this spring.