Every Friday, Patrick and Dave sit down to riff on the week's news and happenings. Welcome to TGIF: Two Guys Internetting Football.
Patrick: Well, it's finally arrived. After an insane, non-stop offseason, we've reached the worst period in the sports calendar: the dead zone. We won't be seeing the Eagles in shorts and shells for another month, and here in Philly we are left with only the painful Phillies and the NBA and NHL drafts.
But because this is the Eagles we're talking about, there's always something to discuss. Today, I wanted to get your thoughts on the Sam Bradford contract situation. It's something we touched on during Episode 100 of BGN Radio, and Andrew Brandt of MMQB also gave his thoughts on the subject yesterday. I'll give you the first crack at it - should the Eagles sign Bradford to an extension now, or wait until after the season?
Dave: They should wait until after the season. Giving Bradford a new contract before he ever plays a game would be lunacy. They need to see if his knee can hold up for one season before committing to three or four more. And if he stays healthy, will he be better than Foles and Sanchez? If he's not then committing to him long term would place them firmly in QB purgatory.
So let's say Bradford stays healthy and has a good season. I'd franchise tag him. QB franchise tag in 2016 will be about $20M (it is $18M this year, was $17M last year). Looking at recent QB extensions, Bradford would probably see a 2016 cap hit of at least $15M. I'm not sure why Brandt thinks it would lower his cap hit in the short term, that doesn't match up with the extensions of fellow pre-new CBA 1st round QBs. I'd take a $5M or less gamble on a one year deal to see if Bradford can replicate a really good 2015 season. I'd much rather have players on shorter more expensive deals than long term ones. If Bradford doesn't cut it or can't stay healthy, it's incredibly easy to move on from him.
Patrick: I'd have to agree, though I certainly see the value of re-signing him early. For me, it comes down to the fear (or lack thereof) that Bradford would leave once he hits the open market. All offseason we heard that Bradford would not have reported to Cleveland if he had been traded their. And if Bradford has a good season and hits the open market, who's going to give a more attractive offer? The Eagles will have the cap flexibility to make a good offer, and my guess is that any productivity Bradford has will be a direct result of Chip's system. And this might be a stretch, but if you spent your entire career in St. Louis, wouldn't you want to stay with a good team?
The idea of the franchise tag is interesting, and one I haven't heard too many people discussing. But I wonder if a string of one-year deals will sour Bradford and his camp. If the team doesn't sign him before the end of the season, I have a feeling that solution to this problem will be pretty obvious by January (or February).
Dave: I don't see Bradford wanting to leave (assuming of course the Eagles make a fair offer) because the Eagles will almost certainly be the most attractive team for a QB. Which makes franchising him not as big of a risk to piss him off. I don't think they will, but they should. A franchise tag, as expensive as it is, minimizes risk. Giving a guy who hasn't stayed healthy and hasn't played great a big long contract is maximizing it. Sam Hinkie would not approve.
Patrick: It's all about #optionality, my friend. On the subject of acquiring assets, the Eagles have reportedly signed former Broncos and Seahawks lineman John Moffitt to a one year deal. If the name sounds familiar, it's because Moffitt recently un-retired from the league. Moffitt left the game in 2013, and was one of the first players to retire early over concerns about his long-term health. He also had some run-ins with the law, but Jay Glazer recently tweeted that Moffitt's recommitted himself to football and getting his life back on track.
His PFF grades are average and he's only started 15 games in his career, but at this point the Eagles can use all the help they can get at the guard position. He'll be battling the likes of Dennis Kelly and Andrew Gardner for a starting role. So what say you, Dave - is he the prohibitive favorite to start at guard alongside Allen Barbre?
Dave: Well we know they were looking at veteran guards before they released Evan Mathis so I would imagine he's got good odds. Maybe he winds up being the backup guard, but you don't generally add a veteran to a position group that lacks certainty with the expectation that he can be a backup, you expect him to challenge for a starting job. I would say he and Tobin are the favorites to make the roster out of that group.
This signing is a little strange because in the past Chip Kelly has let the reclamation happen under his watch, but then the player did whatever it was that made him a reclamation project under Kelly's watch too. Jay Glazer is easy to charm and overly fond of players who train with him but if he's really turned his life around, and it needed a 180, then kudos to Moffitt. He if sticks, he could be a fan favorite:
When he left Seattle, Moffitt was known more for his personality than his football prowess. He was often the highlight of Michael Robinson’s "Real Rob Report" videos, in which Moffitt always made silly cameos. And one would often hear stories of Moffitt chatting with fans when he went out in public.
Sounds like he could at least fill some of the off-field void created when Mathis was cut.
Patrick: The joke was all over Twitter, but who would have thought that the Eagles would land a guard last night and the Sixers wouldn't? Speaking of Hinkie, the NBA Draft season has made me reflect a little on the current landscape of Philly sports. We have, in the Eagles and Sixers, two teams that are very forward-thinking and inventive. Yet there seems to be a real difference in the way both teams are perceived. Obviously a lot of it has to do with records - the Eagles have won 20 games over the last two seasons, and the Sixers are picking third in the draft for the second straight year. But both teams are building with a program in mind. And they are, in large part, using the same methods: analytics, health monitoring, conditioning, etc.
But the thing I find so interesting is that a lot of folks who weren't on board with Chip's vision have eventually come around, while it doesn't seem to me like that's been the case with the Ballin' Bens. And here's my hot take of the day: I can easily envision a world in which the Eagles and Sixers both become legitimate contenders at the same time.
Dave: That's because we are impatient and shallow. Doubters have come around on Chip pretty quickly because he has won and won with style. It's easy to get sold on that, especially when the big doubts were "his offense will never work in the NFL" by people who couldn't describe to you what Kelly's offense is if they were not allowed to use the words "screen pass", "no huddle" and "tempo." It pretty clearly has worked, and did so immediately, so those people look stupid.
The Hinkie haters aren't going to be proven wrong, if they ever are, for a few years. So they can keep saying whatever they want without looking like a fool to all. As sound of a strategy as the Sixers plan is, "have patience" only sells for one year. Fans and the media can respect a rebuilding season, but without a clear building block that patience wears thin. We didn't care what the Eagles record was in 1999, we just cared that Donovan McNabb developed. We knew the team was bad but if he looked good, we were happy about the future.
The Sixers haven't had that. Michael Carter-Williams, the only Hinkie lottery pick to play right away, was supposed to be it, but he regressed and got traded. We had to wait on Nerlens Noel, but he delivered with a phenomenal defensive season. But that doesn't move the needle for the Howard Eskins of the world, who want to see offensive superstars, because they are shallow. Offense sells, especially in the NBA. And we've had to wait on Joel Embiid. In their place has been the league's leftovers.
Add to that the team's refusal to marginally improve themselves through free agency (which I completely agree with), and their acquisition of veterans that they immediately dump (which I also agree with) and you get unhappy fans and media. Hopefully that will begin to change this year with Embiid and Jahil Okafor (man we can't catch a break, both players that Eagles and Sixers fans wanted were taken 2nd overall) taking the court this season alongside Noel. We're going to need a cool nickname for all that height. It's easy to get behind watching a trio of highly promising young players grow on the court together. As fans we want progress that we can easily quantify. An increase in wins, improved offense or defense, going farther in the playoffs than the previous season. The Sixers haven't yet had those leaps.
If the Sixers start to make those leaps this year (would it be unreasonable for them to win 30-something games?) the complaints might be instead levied at Chip Kelly. If Bradford and Murray can't stay healthy, or if they can and the team struggles, the "why should we trust the process" crowd will be coming for him, because those leaps will have gone the other way. If the Eagles don't make the playoffs, or do but don't win a playoff game, the pitchforks will be out.
Speaking of pitchforks, let's finish with a segment we forgot to do last week...
Two Drink Minimum
You may remember Andy Benoit from such ridiculous claims as "Joseph Randle could easily get over 5.0 yards per carry as a starter." He's back this week with some even hotter takes! Benoit tweeted, then deleted a couple of remarks about how all women's sports are unwatchable. He's entitled to his opinion and to voice it, but when you work for Sports Illustrated you look like an idiot and deserve to be The Worst Person In Sports and cause Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers to reunite to tell you to shut up. Log off Andy, you're drunk.