If quarterback Sam Bradford isn’t under Eagles control by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the deadline for teams to apply the franchise tag or transition tag, the pending free agent will hold off on signing a deal until he gauges his interest on the market, reports Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News. Bradford’s agent, Tom Condon, and Eagles vice president Howie Roseman met at the combine last week and will talk again Tuesday, according to Bowen (Twitter link).
Free agency begins March 9, but the “legal tampering” period – which starts March 7 – will enable Bradford and Condon to negotiate with other teams beforehand. There’s a question, though, as to how many other clubs will have interest in Bradford if it gets to that point. Neither the Texans nor Browns are expected to pursue the 28-year-old, per Bowen, while the market for his services will shrink by two more if the Broncos and Jets take the predicted paths of re-signing Brock Osweiler and Ryan Fitzpatrick, respectively.
In the end, the Eagles and Bradford might be the best match for one another, notes Bowen, who adds that the likelihood is the two sides will renew their relationship. For the Eagles’ part, it appears they’ll have a hard time finding a signal-caller who’s clearly an upgrade over Bradford through free agency or the draft, in which they hold the 13th overall pick. The expectation is that the two best QBs in this year’s rookie class, North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz and California’s Jared Goff, will be long gone by then.
Bradford, whom the Rams took No. 1 overall in 2010 draft, has battled various injuries – including two torn ACLs – during his career and hasn’t been great when healthy. The former Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Oklahoma has appeared in 63 of a possible 96 regular-season games, totaling 78 touchdowns and 52 interceptions while putting up an 81.0 passer rating.
Former Eagles head coach and football czar Chip Kelly, whom the team fired in December, acquired Bradford from the Rams last offseason in exchange for QB Nick Foles and a second-round pick. Bradford then started 14 games (his most since 2012) and established new career highs in completion percentage (65.0), yards (3,725) and yards per attempt (7.00). He also tossed 19 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. Bradford was particularly effective from November onward, connecting on better than 68 percent of attempts while amassing 10 TDs and four picks. The Eagles went 7-7 in Bradford’s starts, 0-2 with backup Mark Sanchez under center, and missed the playoffs for the second straight year.
Bradford made just under $13MM last season to conclude his six-year, $78MM rookie contract. It appears highly doubtful his next deal will approach either the length or total value of his expiring pact.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.