By all accounts I’ve read, Sam Bradford is a great guy.
He’s smart, talented, and wise with money; at one point after he signed his rookie deal, his biggest expense was a ping pong table if memory serves. He’s nothing but a good guy. I’ve never heard or read a thing about him having a character issue. He’s no crook or felon far as I can tell. He’s a devout Christian and is a proud member of the Cherokee Nation.
He is a good man and a boring guy for most part so the cameras aren’t going to be on him.
So, to see Sam Bradford in the news over the past few days has been a bit surprising. Especially since it’s not been about saving drowning children or dressing up as Superman at a Comic Con (seriously, he kind of looks like Dean Cain).
Instead, Bradford is in the news because the Philadelphia Eagles made the official trade to go from the 8th overall pick to the 2nd overall pick in the 2016 draft and have stated that they intend to draft a quarterback. After hearing this news that he’s not the long-term investment for the Eagles, Bradford apparently got angry to the point of being described as “hot,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole now says that Bradford is likely to request a trade out of Philly to a team “that is going to be invested in him long term.” This reaction is astounding and has led me to conclude that there is only one logical explanation: There is something neurologically wrong with Sam Bradford.
Seriously, eye saucers are abundant amongst any and all who have read this report and have a basic knowledge of Sam Bradford’s six-year career in the National Football League. Where on earth did Bradford get the idea that anyone should have long-term confidence in him? From a gypsy fortune teller in with a crystal ball in Istanbul or a swami in Kolkata? Because no American who watches football could tell you that without lying.
For Bradford to think that a team would ever have legitimate long term confidence in him, he would at least need to have a severe case of amnesia that caused him to forget the first five years of his career. Because Bradford is always going to be known as an NFL draft bust, ok. Let’s address this right away.
As great a person as Bradford is, he cannot shake that label ever. He could lead the Eagles to four Super Bowl wins and he’ll still be a bust because he did next to nothing with his career in St. Louis, the team who drafted him in 2010 with the top overall pick.
His rookie season was promising ironically. He won Offensive Rookie of the Year had an 18-15 TD-INT ratio and they had a chance to make the playoffs but didn’t. The St. Louis Rams were optimistic about the future.
However, over the next four years and 64 games with the Rams, Bradford missed 31 of them to injury. He had a high ankle sprain that cost him time in 2011 and he tore the same ACL in 2013 and 2014. When he was fully healthy, which was the 2012 season, he still underperformed. He threw for a mediocre 21 TDs, which is still his career high.
Injuries and subpar play are only part of the equation. Bradford’s bust status is further increased because he was the last of the top overall picks to earn a mega contract before the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in 2011 set up a rookie pay scale. Bradford got a six-year, $78 million deal from the St. Louis Rams and he had to have at least smiled his way to the bank after using the last inflated draft market to bolster his price.
The Rams traded him in the final year of his rookie deal, so they only paid him about $50 million of his contract which averages out to about a million bucks per game he actually started. The Eagles took Bradford and gave the Rams Nick Foles, a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick in return.
Now, Bradford has a second chance in Philadelphia. But where does he get this notion that they had confidence in him as a long term starter? Philly didn’t give him a contract extension before or during the 2015 season. Bradford missed two games due to an A/C joint injury, had a 19-14 TD/INT ratio and while he set a career-high in passing yards (3,725), it is still considered average in a year where the top 10 passing leaders all had over 4,000 yards.
Lastly, this past offseason Bradford happened to luck out yet again by being the “best quarterback” in a free agent class that had basically nothing outside of him except Brock Osweiler and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Compound that with the upcoming quarterback weak NFL draft that has three projected first-round quarterbacks but all of whom are projects and Bradford was suddenly the best looking car in the junkyard.
But here’s where Bradford certainly must’ve realized that he wasn’t anyone’s long term anything. The Eagles gave him a deal worth $36 million over two years with $22 million guaranteed. Sure, that’s an armored truckload of guaranteed cash in the deal, but hello?! It’s only for two years. How is two years a long term commitment?
Furthermore, the deal was structured where by the second year, the Eagles could theoretically cut Bradford after June 1, 2017 and save a significant amount of cap space. He was only ever guaranteed one year.
Back to the original question. Has Sam Bradford lost his mind? Can he actually look at his career and say, “Yeah, I’m definitely the guy you should bank on?” Because if he can do that, he’s got to have something wrong in the head.