3 teams that could pursue trade for Sam Bradford
The Eagles’ deal with the Browns to move up to the No. 2 pick not only has ramifications for the draft, but also in Philadelphia’s locker room. After the announcement, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Sam Bradford was not pleased with the move. Following that news, Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole reported that Bradford would likely request a trade.
On the one hand, the Eagles are unlikely to move Bradford because they would still have to pay $11 million of his signing bonus. On the other, a team offering to repay some of the future compensation given up for the second-overall pick (2017 first-rounder and 2018 second-rounder) might convince owner Jeffrey Lurie to exchange dollars for draft capital. Even then, Howie Roseman reiterated only a couple of days ago that Bradford is the starting quarterback for this season. Perhaps the front office believes the competition will motivate him? The organization clearly currently views Bradford as the short-term starter, with Chase Daniel the long-term backup. The reluctance to sell could be tested, however, if one of the teams desperate for a QB views the former No. 1 overall pick as a solution.
Bradford is a slightly-better-than-average starter, with obvious strengths and weaknesses. At this stage of his career, he’s unlikely to improve much. With that said, San Francisco, Denver and the New York Jets have pressing need at quarterback. All three would upgrade their quality at the position by acquiring Bradford:
New York Jets
Geno Smith is currently the projected starter in New York, with Bryce Petty the backup. In his two full years as a starter, Smith has graded as 33rd and 40th amongst QBs. He’s thrown 35 picks to just 27 touchdowns so far in his career. On the field, he isn’t performing, while off the field, he’s getting in fights with teammates—simply put, the Jets need a solution. Ryan Fitzpatrick remains on the free-agent market, but New York is clearly reluctant to meet his contract demands.
Enter Sam Bradford. The current Eagle ranked 11th among NFL QBs last season with an 80.9 passing grade. Compare that to Fitzpatricks’ mark of 30th with a 56.7 grade, and you can see how Bradford could be a potential upgrade. Although he may not be the ideal fit for Chan Gailey’s offense, if the Jets can’t acquire a player like Paxton Lynch in the draft, it might be worth taking a flyer on Bradford.
John Elway has been reluctant to overpay for a quarterback this offseason, allowing the player he spent four years developing to walk in free agency. Bradford won’t require as much guaranteed money, or an investment for as many years. Another former Eagles quarterback, Mark Sanchez, is currently penciled in as the starter in Denver. As a backup in Philadelphia, he recorded a positive grade during the few weeks that Bradford was injured, but was still plagued by the untimely turnovers that have become a staple of his career. Sanchez recorded a QB rating of just 80.7, and threw as many picks as touchdowns (four). Should the Broncos continue to balk at the cost of Colin Kaepernick, Bradford might come into consideration.
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco represents the most logical destination for Bradford, not least because their head coach has acquired him once already. Bradford was apparently dismayed at Kelly’s dismissal because he’ll now be required him to learn a new offense. Moving to San Francisco would solve that problem. The 49ers could use him, too. Blaine Gabbert may not be the terrified rookie he was in Jacksonville, but he still only ranked 27th among QBs in 2015 with a 66.5 overall grade. He completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,031 yards, 10 touchdowns, and seven picks. Simply put, Gabbert remains a less than ideal starter, and Colin Kaepernick is seemingly not happy about his current situation in San Francisco. Ultimately, a reunion with Chip Kelly seems most likely if Bradford were to be traded by Philadelphia.