When the Eagles acquired Sam Bradford in a surprising trade with the St. Louis Rams last week, some thought Philadelphia was getting him to use as a trade chip in order to move up in the 2015 NFL Draft and get Marcus Mariota. Chip Kelly quickly downplayed those rumors during his Wednesday press conference following Tuesday's trade.
"No. We didn't entertain anything with Sam," he stated. "We did not bring Sam in here to be a [trade] chip. I'm the only Chip here."
There's evidence to support Kelly might not be lying. According to Peter King, Kelly really wanted to acquire the former No. 1 overall pick because he genuinely likes him. It's also been pointed out how Bradford played in a no-huddle, fast-paced offense at Oklahoma. There's been a report that the Eagles are looking to rework/extend Bradford's current contract, which could indicate he's in the long-term plans.
It appears some other teams aren't buying Kelly's commitment to Bradford, however. ESPN's Josina Anderson reported an interesting nugget on Sunday morning.
"Interesting to hear some coaches [at WVU] pro day who said [they're] not convinced [with Kelly and Bradford]. They think [Bradford is] still bait for [the] Titans, not [a system] fit."
These coaches might not necessarily have inside information, and it could be an opinion shared by the minority, but it's still interesting to see they're not ready to rule out Kelly trading up for Mariota. Their reasoning seems to be off, though. Just because Bradford isn't the most mobile quarterback doesn't mean he's not a system fit, as highlighted above. He certainly has experience in a spread system.
My take on this whole situation is that Bradford is that Kelly isn't lying when he says Bradford isn't a trade chip. He didn't acquire Bradford solely just to flip him. BUT... I don't believe Kelly wouldn't trade Bradford is the right deal materialized. In this sense, Bradford is a Plan B. If the Eagles can trade him to help land Mariota (who I'm assuming is Plan A), I think Kelly would do that. If not, they'll stick with Bradford because they could do much worse.
According to Kelly, the Eagles have already turned down an offer from a team willing to give up a first round pick for Bradford. Charley Casserly seemed to (indirectly) indicate that it was the Browns (possibly at No. 19?) who offered the pick. The Eagles are showing that it will take more than whatever they were offered to get a deal done.
Perhaps the Titans, assuming they even have interest, would be able to offer a more tempting deal. Back in January, NFL insider Jason Cole reported that the teams at the top of the 2015 NFL Draft order prefer Bradford to Jameis Winston and/or Mariota. Maybe Tennessee is one of those teams, but maybe not.
I would still say Mariota's chances of landing on the Eagles isn't incredibly favorable. But it's just hard to rule out the possibility entirely. Especially when Kelly does things like compare Mariota to Peyton Manning and say he "will win multiple Super Bowls."
Kelly said he wouldn't mortgage the Eagles future to get Mariota. Maybe he doesn't have to if he can find a team that really likes Bradford.