Sam Bradford signed a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Birds have their starting quarterback for 2016 and maybe beyond. Here are some thoughts on the new deal.
Sam Bradford's deal is a win for both sides
Another good contract by Howie Roseman. The Eagles got what they wanted. They got Bradford back on a deal that doesn't require a long-term commitment. The Birds can essentially get out of the contract after one season if they need to. Bradford also got what he wanted. He got very good money in the short-term while getting the chance to earn another big pay day in the future if he plays well. Everybody wins.
The NFL doesn't think Sam Bradford is very good
Remember how I wrote there might be a big market for Bradford? Clearly I was wrong. It appears there was actually almost no market for Bradford. It's funny because the people who wanted Bradford back have to come to terms with the idea that he's only returning because the rest of the NFL thinks he's not very good. This is what we've been arguing all offseason, by the way.
Eagles will still probably draft a QB
The Eagles did not sign Bradford to a deal that indicates he's the long-term answer at quarterback. He might have the opportunity if he plays well, but the Eagles can't solely rely on that. As I've been saying all along, they can't afford to put all their eggs in the Bradford basket. They need to invest in other quarterback options. The Birds don't necessarily need to force a pick on a quarterback in the first round at No. 13, but drafting a passer should absolutely be in play. It really wouldn't hurt if the Eagles walked away from the 2016 NFL Draft with two rookie quarterbacks even. Bradford isn't reliable enough from a production or health perspective to say the quarterback position is settled. It's time for the team to hedge against their bet. The good news is that the Eagles seem to recognize the need to develop a quarterback. Doug Pederson has already hinted at Philadelphia's interest in drafting a young signal caller. The only question is ... who will it be?
Eagles think they can win now
The Eagles aren't rebuilding. They truly think they can win now, which isn't necessarily wrong. The NFC East still looks weak. But that's more of an indictment than the division than it is an endorsement of the Eagles. Winning the division is great and all but I don't know how much it means if the Eagles aren't true title contenders.
Eagles still have money to spend
Bradford's new deal gives him a $12.5 million cap number for the 2016 season. So this means the Eagles have about $18.6 million remaining in cap space. That ranks 21st in the NFL. The Eagles can still save some money by cutting and/or trading certain players. The Birds won't be major spenders in free agency but they'll have enough room to fill some roster holes.
Time to move on from Mark Sanchez
Speaking of cap space, now's a good time to point out that the Eagles can save $3.5 million by cutting Mark Sanchez. They can save $4.5 million if they can find a trade partner, which doesn't seem likely. In any case, bringing Sanchez back at that figure doesn't make a ton of sense. I don't even consider myself a Sanchez basher; I like him for what he is, which is a backup. It's just that the Eagles are better off using that money elsewhere. The Birds should arguably draft two quarterbacks and keep a rookie as the backup. Or have a rookie as the backup and McLeod Bethel-Thompson as the third string guy.
Some continuity might pay off
I think the idea of continuity is a little overrated but Bradford did seem to form a nice connection with Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz at the end of the season. Ertz especially went off in the final four games. He had 35 receptions for 450 yards (12.9 average) and one touchdown. The Eagles will be running a new offense but at least Bradford will have some familiarity with his pass catchers.
My reaction to this deal can be summed in one word: "Whatever." It could have been much worse. It's essentially a one-year deal if Bradford doesn't play well. It's just hard to be very excited about this team. Does the trio of Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson, and Bradford really inspire much confidence? Can you look at that group and honestly think it's the pairing that will take the Eagles to their first Super Bowl win in franchise history? Because I can't. I see mediocrity at best. And that's even worse than bottoming out because at least if the Eagles are bad they can get a high draft pick to take a quarterback. Tanking in the NFL might not be realistic but I'm just not sure about the long-term vision of this team.