If words are worth anything, it sure seems like Sam Bradford is going to be back with the Philadelphia Eagles next season.
Chip Kelly got the ball rolling with his comments about how the Eagles wouldn't have traded for Bradford to only have him for one year. Kelly reiterated those comments on Monday. He also appeared on 94WIP and said: "We certainly want Sam back and we’ll try to do everything we can to get him here."
Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur doesn't seem too worried about losing Bradford this offseason.
"I expect him to [re-sign]," said Shurmur. "All along, he’s expressed to us that he enjoys what we’re doing. He likes our offense, he likes the culture here. It’s not surprise that that was revealed publicly. But yeah, I hope he’s here, for sure."
Shurmur went on to give Bradford a strong vote of confidence.
"That [franchise quarterback] term is thrown out there," said Shurmur. "I do [see him a franchise quarterback.] I really do. I’ve seen the best of him when he was young. I’ve seen him improve throughout the year. And I certainly know a lot about him from working with him on a daily basis. I can just see that he’s excited about what the future would hold here."
When Kelly first hinted at Bradford having a long-term future with the Eagles, the coach cited examples of other quarterbacks around the league who have benefited from continuity in a team's system. Shurmur referenced the same line of thinking on Tuesday.
"I think where Sam’s at, the second year in any system is going to be important," Shurmur said. "This year he got himself to the start line ready to play. I think this offseason is going to be important for him because now he has a base understanding of what we’re doing schematically. He knows, for the most part, the players he’d be playing with. It’ll be a great offseason for him because now he can focus on Sam, and getting his strength, and getting his body, and all the things where he wants to be. Any time you’re rehabbing an injury, it’s sometimes hard to focus on all those other things. So I think this will be an offseason where he makes great strides."
For what it's worth, the interest seems to be mutual. After Philadelphia's loss to Washington, Bradford told reporters he wants to return to the Eagles.
"You know, I want to be back here, like I said," said Bradford. "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."
While everyone's intentions may be clear, Bradford's contract situation is not. He's going to be a free agent and it's hard to imagine him re-signing for cheap. Quarterbacks are expensive and the Eagles will likely have to find a way to pony up big money in order to keep him.