Sam Bradford Trade Just Saved the Philadelphia Eagles Season
Yesterday I was getting ready to write about how the Philadelphia Eagles were about to waste an entire season with Sam Bradford as their starting quarterback while No. 2 overall draft pick Carson Wentz sat on the bench all year. Then, according to reports, Bradford's agent initiated the deal that sent his client to the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday.
Whether or not Tom Condon really got the ball rolling on the trade is almost irrelevant. But we do know that he and Bradford have been looking for the quickest way out of Philly ever since the Eagles traded up (twice) in the draft to take their QB of the future, Wentz. Now Bradford got his wish to get out of Philly and the Eagles season has been saved.
Now some people might wonder how I can say a season has been saved for a team that just traded their starting QB a week before the regular season is about to start, but those people are either delusional or short-sighted.
The moment the Eagles mortgaged the present and the future to draft Wentz, they should have admitted that they were in full rebuilding mode. Instead GM Howie Roseman decided to straddle the fence and try to win this season with a QB who was obviously not in the team's future plans. Everyone, including Bradford, knew Wentz would be the starting QB next season, if not later this season. That's why he wanted out. But Roseman decided to keep Bradford and sign other veteran free agents in a misguided attempt to win a weak NFC East in 2016.
Yes, the NFC East will most likely be the worst division in the NFL in 2016. But no, even with Sam Bradford, the Eagles were not going to win the division. Even if the division is won with a .500 record, I don't see how any rational person thought the Eagles were anywhere close to a team with enough talent to win as many as 8 or more games.
The Eagles receiving corps might be the worst in the entire NFL. The RBs are a brittle and inexperienced bunch. And the offensive line is at best a question mark with the looming 10-game suspension for RT Lane Johnson. The team would have struggled to score points even with Bradford at QB. Oh sure, the defense looks vastly improved, but that unit literally had nowhere to go but up after last season. And I'm still not so sure about the CBs.
If the Eagles didn't trade Bradford, they were most likely headed for a losing record anyway. With Wentz languishing on the bench the entire season would have been a waste. The Eagles would have headed into 2017 without knowing for sure what they had in Wentz. Maybe he would have gotten into a couple of games at the end of this season when the Eagles sputtered to the finish line among the worst teams in the NFL. But there is no better way to learn in the NFL than by playing and seeing the speed of the game.
For those of you who point to Aaron Rodgers as an example of a QB sitting for a few years before becoming a great QB, I have to ask you what world you live in where Bradford can even be mentioned in the same sentence as Brett Favre. Bradford's career proves that he is average-at-best and Favre was a first-ballot Hall of Famer, who is probably the most popular player in his team's history. Not exactly comparing apples-to-apples there are we?
No, the only way for the Eagles to go is for them to play Wentz. Now!
Thankfully, the Vikings were desperate after the season-ending knee injury to QB Teddy Bridgewater. Minnesota has legitimate title aspirations and Shaun Hill just wasn't going to get it done at QB for the Vikings. That led the Vikings to make an offer the Eagles couldn't refuse. A 2017 first round pick and a conditional 2018 4th rounder, that can become a 3rd rounder if the Vikings make it to the NFC Championship Game and becomes a 2nd rounder if the Vikings win the Super Bowl and Bradford plays 80% of the snaps this season? Oh my God, I'll drive Sammy to the airport myself for that kind of haul.
And regardless of their political leanings, Eagles fans should be thankful that Colin Kaepernick is an anti-American piece of crap. If that dope didn't make his anti-flag stand (pun intended), the Vikings might have been inclined to trade far, far less for him instead of giving up a king's ransom for Bradford. I still hope for nothing but bad things to happen to Kaepernick but at least his uninformed stupidity may have helped the Eagles.
The Eagles will now have a first round pick in next year's NFL Draft, which will ironically be held in Philadelphia. Sure, that pick will be in the mid to high 20s instead of the sure-fire top 10 pick they traded to Cleveland for the No. 2 overall pick this year, but that's still a coup for Roseman. A team with so many obvious holes to fill now has a 1st round pick for a guy they couldn't keep beyond this season.
And make no mistake about it. There is absolutely no way that the Eagles could keep Sam Bradford beyond this season.
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Even if Bradford had a good season for the Eagles and they somehow made the playoffs in a horrendous NFC East, Roseman staked his entire reputation on the moves he made to trade up to get Wentz and anoint him the savior of the franchise. You just don't mortgage the future like Roseman did and then let your prize rot away on the bench for a few years. Not unless you have a franchise icon already playing ahead of the young guy and, oh by the way, the Packers didn't trade up for Rodgers, they simply took him at No. 22 when he fell to them in the draft.
Plus, there is no way the Eagles are ever getting a better offer for Sam Bradford. Even if he had a great season and led the Eagles to the playoffs and actually won the first playoff game of his career, there still wouldn't be a team willing to offer them more than a 1 and a 4 (that could be much more). The Vikings were desperate to win this year and there is no guarantee that Bridgewater is healthy by the start of the 2017 season. His injury was gruesome. He not only shredded all the ligaments in his knee, he also dislocated his kneecap. I have heard that some players have actually lost their legs with such a horrific injury. Bradford is signed through next season so this trade also gives the Vikings some insurance for next season as well, if Bridgewater isn't fully recovered.
I also don't know whether to root for the Vikings to have a good season or not. On one hand, if they are great, the Eagles could turn that 4th rounder into a 3rd rounder or even a 2nd rounder. Remember that the Eagles also traded their 2018 2nd rounder, along with their 2017 1st rounder to the Browns to move up to draft Wentz. But if the Vikings are bad, most likely due to Bradford being Bradford, the Eagles would getting a higher pick in the 1st round next year. Either way, I think it's a win-win for the Eagles.
Back to the Eagles; this really did save them from having a wasted season. No, the veteran players on the team certainly aren't thinking that. And no, the fans certainly won't enjoy a rebuilding season. But this is what is absolutely necessary if the Eagles are ever going to be a Championship caliber team anytime in the future. Carson Wentz needs to play sooner, rather than later. And news from the Eagles own website is that if Wentz is fully recovered from his broken ribs, he could start Week 1.
That is the best news possible for any Eagles fan. I assumed that overpaid backup QB Chase Daniel would be the starter for the first few weeks while Wentz sat and learned the NFL game. The Eagles have a Week 4 bye, so I figured Week 5 would be the perfect time to start Wentz's NFL career. Now they might just throw him into the fire Week 1 and I couldn't be happier. And honestly, anyone who watched Daniel play in the preseason, should be happy that they don't have to watch him fail when the games really count. He is just flat-out terrible.
There aren't too many situations where the fans of a team who just traded their starting QB should be happy, but this is one of those times for Eagles fans.
Sam Bradford was just standing in the way of the progress of the guy everyone acknowledges is the future of the franchise. The team traded a ton in players and picks to get Wentz and to let him waste an entire season sitting on the bench would have been criminal. Luckily for the Eagles and Roseman, a situation arose that bailed them out. And for that, every Eagles fan should be thankful. The season has been saved.
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