It's no secret that the Philadelphia Eagles have a big decision to make on Sam Bradford's future this offseason. The 28-year-old quarterback is set to be an unrestricted free agent in March. Whether the Eagles keep him or not remains to be seen. In the meantime, we know that new Eagles head coach seems to admire the team's 2015 starter.
"Looking at the quarterback position here, I think Sam [Bradford] is a quality quarterback," Pederson said on Tuesday. "I think he’s a top notch quarterback. Look what he did the last half of the season. The numbers that he was able to put up. I feel like he’s an individual, he’s a quarterback that would fit perfectly into a system that I’m going to bring. And so as we evaluate, as I evaluate that position, those decisions will be made as we go."
Pederson has only been able to watch Bradford from afar at this point. The new Eagles coach said he hasn't met with Bradford yet.
"I don’t know him personally," said Pederson. "I think he’s a tremendous player. I liked him coming out of college when we evaluated him before. But again, he’s someone I do want to reach out to and talk and have conversations with."
So what makes Bradford attractive to Pederson?
"I think Sam, he’s got all the tools," Pederson explained. "There’s no question. There’s no denying that. He’s got good size, a great arm, good mind for the game. And it’s just a matter of now plugging him in and cutting him loose. And utilizing those strengths in this system."
Even if the Eagles do want to keep Bradford, which isn't clear, it's not a guarantee Bradford wants to sign a long-term extension with Philadelphia. He could look to sign with Chip Kelly and the 49ers in San Francisco, for example. Hitting Bradford with the franchise tag remains an option, but it won't be cheap. Eagles Chairman and CEO was asked if he sees Bradford as a franchise quarterback.
"I think really this is the time to leave that to the evaluation process," Lurie said. "We have a new head coach who understand the quarterback position a lot more than I do. I think all the input of someone who really is now in charge of our football team as head coach will have a very large influence over that. [There’s] a lot of good things that Sam did. He seemed to get better during the course of the season."
Based on what was said, it doesn't sound like the Eagles have closed the door on Bradford returning. Pederson seems to have some level of interest. This doesn't necessarily guarantee the Eagles want him to return, though. Bradford obviously has an extensive history and signing him to a long-term deal is a big and risky commitment. One could argue the Eagles are better off saving that money and pairing a placeholder veteran (such as Chase Daniel) with a rookie from the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Eagles have a big decision to make on the quarterback position. It's imperative they get it right.