Sam Bradford

Sam Bradford Clears Waivers

Sam Bradford will no longer be attached to his Cardinals contract. Waived on Saturday, the ninth-year quarterback cleared waivers Monday, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). He’s a free agent.

This was expected given the latest lofty accord to which he was signed. But Bradford may not be landing with a new team too soon. He’s still experiencing knee pain because of an extensive injury past.

In his final five weeks as a Cardinal, Bradford did not practice, with ESPN’s Chris Mortensen tweeting the knee was the cause of this. Bradford also was dealing with a pectoral injury. No cartilage remains in Bradford’s left knee, and bone-on-bone situation may make it difficult for another team to believe he can stay healthy enough to be an option as a short-term stopgap starter or a backup.

Bradford will turn 31 this week. The Cardinals will be charged an additional $2.35MM, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (via Twitter), due to the former No. 1 overall pick clearing waivers.

Although some teams are in need at quarterback, Bradford may not be a fit. The Giants are not believed to be interested. The Cardinals guaranteed him $20MM on a two-year deal with a 2019 option but only started him for three games. Steve Wilks benched Bradford for Josh Rosen in Week 3. Bradford threw just 80 passes as a Cardinal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Not Interested In Sam Bradford

Pat Shurmur coached Sam Bradford on each of the quarterback’s first three teams, and the coach’s current squad has an uncertain future at football’s marquee position.

But don’t expect the Giants to bring in Bradford. They are not interested in adding the oft-injured passer, ESPN.com’s Diana Russini tweets.

The Cardinals cut Bradford earlier on Saturday, and instead of receiving his outright release as he would have if this move occurred during the season’s first half, Bradford will be on the waiver wire. He has $2.355MM in base salary remaining in 2018.

He’s attached to a contract that runs through 2019 but only via option. If Bradford is on a team’s roster on the third day of the 2019 league year with this contract, he receives a $10MM roster bonus and his $7.5MM base salary becomes fully guaranteed. It’s hard to envision that happening.

Bradford, who will turn 31 next week, could be bound for free agency given his extensive injury troubles. The Giants are not remotely solidified at quarterback beyond this season.

Under Shurmur in 2016, Bradford set the since-broken completion percentage record (71.6) and threw 20 touchdown passes and five interceptions. Bradford’s finished with his highest full-season passer rating (99.3) of his career but has dealt with significant injury trouble since. He’s dealt with a pectoral malady since being benched this season.

Eli Manning‘s contract runs through 2019, but with the team now showing signs it’s ready to rebuild, the soon-to-be 38-year-old passer wouldn’t fit. He’s completing passes at a career-high 68.3 percent clip, but the Giants are 1-7 and have many holes that are less easily filled with a franchise-QB salary on their payroll. Manning’s owed $23.2MM in 2019; it would cost the Giants $6.2MM in dead money to release their 15-year quarterback next year. Manning also has a no-trade clause, further complicating potential proceedings.

Giants backup Kyle Lauletta was also arrested this week and is facing several charges. It’s fairly obvious the Giants will have to make a big quarterback move next year. It’s just unclear what path they’ll take. As of now, it doesn’t look like Bradford will be involved.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Cut Sam Bradford

Sam Bradford‘s Cardinals stay wasn’t expected to be lengthy, especially after the team benched the well-paid quarterback in September. But it will end up being shorter than expected.

The Cardinals announced they’ve cut Bradford. This comes after they shopped their current backup quarterback at the trade deadline, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Arizona gave Bradford a $20MM guarantee to be its bridge option, but after starting three games in what turned out to be three losses, the oft-injured quarterback hit the bench and has not returned. Josh Rosen remains Arizona’s starter and likely will be for the foreseeable future. Now, Mike Glennon is his primary backup.

This move coming after the trade deadline means Bradford is on the waiver wire. Had the Cardinals cut him last week, the 30-year-old passer would’ve hit free agency. Now, he’ll be a possible candidate to land with a quarterback-needy team. Bradford has $2.5MM in base salary remaining on his Cards contract for 2018, with ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter adding (via Twitter) $2.5MM in roster bonuses remain as well.

Bradford’s deal comes with a 2019 $24.687MM cap hit — something that will surely be untenable for any team at this point in the former Heisman Trophy winner’s career. However, this is an option season. If Bradford is claimed and is on the claiming team’s roster on the third day of the 2019 league year, his $7.5MM 2019 base salary and a $10MM roster bonus become fully guaranteed. This path seems incredibly unlikely.

This transaction, interestingly, affects the Vikings as well. Since the Cardinals cut Bradford before Week 10, the Vikings will lose out on a projected third-round compensatory pick in 2019, per ESPN.com’s Mike Sando (on Twitter). The compensatory formula now stands to net the Cards an additional sixth-round 2019 pick because of Kareem Martin‘s free agency defection, per OverTheCap’s Nick Korte (Twitter link).

For his short Cardinals career, one of the NFL’s premier cash collectors received $15.9MM, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). In signing Bradford for what turned out to be an 80-pass season, the Cardinals will be tagged with $5MM in dead money come 2019.

Teams like the Bills, Jaguars or even the now-Pat Shurmur-coached Giants could conceivably be interested in claiming Bradford as a rental option, though he’s dealt with a pectoral injury since being demoted and has not proven to be a reliable option since setting the NFL completion percentage record with the 2016 Vikings. Bradford figures to be a free agent in 2019. The spree of windfalls for the former No. 1 overall pick are probably over after four different teams paid him as a starter since the 2010 season.

After starting for most of the 2015 season and all of 2016, Bradford has played in just five games since the start of last season. Another knee injury ended his run as Minnesota’s starter. It’s likely if Bradford chooses to keep playing in 2019, he’ll have to do so as a backup.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Garrett, Browns, Cardinals, Bradford, Packers, Allison, Colts, Hilton

Myles Garrett, last year’s number one overall pick, has gotten off to a great start in 2018. He has 4.5 sacks through four games, and has established himself as one of the best pass-rushers in the league at the age of 22. He’s been a genuine force, and has been a large part of Cleveland’s defensive resurgence. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com even thinks Garrett will be in the “conversation for NFL Defensive Player of the Year as long as he stays healthy.” Garrett had an injury plagued rookie season, but it looks like Sashi Brown and the old Browns front office clearly made the right choice by taking him first overall in 2017.

Kay Cabot also thinks the Browns would be wise to attempt to trade quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor has been sent to the bench due to the strong play of Baker Mayfield, and the Browns no longer need him in the final year of his contract. It’s unclear if Taylor and his hefty contract have any actual trade value, but Kay Cabot thinks Cleveland should be calling up quarterback needy teams like the 49ers.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • After promoting Josh Rosen to be the team’s starter, the Cardinals made an interesting decision to demote Sam Bradford to third string and make Mike Glennon the backup. Many assumed the decision was because Bradford would no longer earn his per game roster bonuses of over $300K as an inactive third-stringer, but Arizona coach Steve Wilks denied that after the game today. Wilks said the decision was all his and not forced on him by the front office, and that it was just about “making the best decision for the team” according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Packers receiver Geronimo Allison sustained a concussion in the team’s win over the Bills today, according to Jason Wilde of ESPN (Twitter link). Allison has started to emerge as a viable number two receiver this year, and him missing any amount of time would be a big blow to a receiving corp that’s already dealing with an injury to Randall Cobb.
  • Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton had to leave the team’s loss to the Texans with a hamstring injury, and coach Frank Reich told reporters Hilton probably won’t be able to play in the team’s Week 5 game against the Patriots, according to Adam Schefter (Twitter link). The Colts will be playing on a short week on Thursday Night Football, and will be tasked with beating New England on the road without their best offensive playmaker.

 

NFC Notes: Thomas, Bradford, Eagles, Reid

The Seahawks have indeed fined safety Earl Thomas, who missed practice for non-injury reasons for the second consecutive week. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the Seahawks — who were considering imposing a substantial fine on Thomas last Sunday — fined the star defender for missing practice and for “other things.” Rapoport adds that “communication should increase going forward,” but it is presently unclear as to whether he is referring to communication between Thomas and Seattle or between Seattle and other clubs who may want to trade for Thomas. We heard earlier today that the Steelers were interested in Thomas, but there has been no communication between Seattle and Pittsburgh at this point.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds that the Seahawks are still asking for a second-round pick for Thomas, and that the Chiefs remain interested (though Kansas City does not want to give up a second-rounder). The Cowboys, of course, offered a second-round pick to Seattle earlier this year, but the Seahawks wanted more from Dallas at the time since the two teams were set to play each other last week. Now that the Cowboys-Seahawks matchup has taken place, perhaps the Seahawks will be more willing to consider the Cowboys’ offer, but Rapoport indicates (video link) that the Seahawks want two second round picks in exchange for Thomas, which seems like an especially lofty asking price.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • Sam Bradford is now the Cardinals‘ No. 3 quarterback, per Schefter, who says that going forward, rookie Josh Rosen will be the starter and will be backed up by Mike Glennon (Twitter link). That means that Bradford will generally be inactive on game days and will miss out on his active roster bonuses of $312,500 per game, a situation we explored in more detail last week.
  • Another tough blow for Rams outside linebacker Dominique Easley. Per the team’s official website, Easley, who has suffered three torn ACLs since 2011, may be heading for his fourth surgery in the last seven years. Head coach Sean McVay said that Easley, who converted to outside linebacker during training camp, is suffering complications from his previous injuries.
  • Prior to signing him a few days ago, the Panthers did not ask new safety Eric Reid about his anthem protests or his collusion case against the league, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. GM Marty Hurney said team ownership was not involved in the signing, and that it was a purely football move.
  • Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery will make his 2018 debut today, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (via Twitter). Rapoport (video link) reports that Jeffery’s status for this week was up in the air because of a virus that made him seriously ill, but that his shoulder is good to go.
  • As Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer observes, the Eagles have four prominent starters playing out the final year of their respective contracts: Jordan Hicks, Ronald Darby, Jay Ajayi, and Brandon Graham. Even if the Eagles wait until after the 2019 season to give quarterback Carson Wentz what will surely be a massive extension, Philadelphia has to plan for that contract now, which means the club will have some difficult decisions to make with respect to its impending free agents. McLane posits that Hicks is the most likely of the above-named players to be retained, and he examines the futures of all four players in detail.
  • Jane Slater of the NFL Network reports that Cowboys WR Terrance Williams will be inactive today, and that the recently re-signed Brice Butler will be leaned upon more heavily as a result (Twitter link). Williams, the most expensive receiver on Dallas’ roster, may be facing a suspension stemming from his May arrest and recently missed practice, though that absence was reportedly an excused one and was unrelated to the possible suspension. Williams, though, has just two catches for 18 yards this season, and the team wants to give someone else a shot.

Cardinals To Start Josh Rosen

It’s Josh Rosen time. On Monday, Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks announced that Rosen will replace Sam Bradford as the team’s starting quarterback. 

This was the expected move after Rosen replaced Bradford late in the team’s 16-14 loss to the Bears. Bradford exited after throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble. Rosen, meanwhile, had a few good plays, but threw a costly interception with roughly one minute remaining in the game.

Rosen was less-than-perfect in his short NFL debut, but the Cardinals clearly needed to make a change after getting off to an abysmal start. The entire offense has sputtered through three games and the team has failed to fully utilize the talents of running back David Johnson. If Rosen can keep defenses honest, Johnson may finally have room to run.

Rosen, a UCLA product, threw for 59 touchdowns against 16 interceptions across three college seasons. In the spring, the Cardinals made him the No. 10 overall pick in the draft.

Four of this year’s five first-round QBs are now installed as starters with Ravens rookie Lamar Jackson as the odd man out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Josh Rosen, Sam Bradford

The Cardinals have limped out to an 0-2 start thanks in large part to an anemic offense led by veteran QB Sam Bradford. Bradford has yet to throw a touchdown pass, but he has thrown two picks and has compiled a 55.6 QB rating, while Arizona has amassed a grand total of six points.

That performance, of course, has led to increased speculation as to when rookie Josh Rosen, the No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft, will be inserted into the starting lineup. We learned last night that, even if Bradford struggles against the Bears this afternoon, Cardinals fans should not expect an in-game promotion for Rosen, and it sounds as if Arizona will wait at least a couple of weeks before deploying the UCLA product.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) says the Cardinals are generally disjointed on offense, and while Bradford has not played well, the team does not believe he is solely to blame for the offense’s difficulties. As such, the club does not want to throw Rosen to the wolves and risk stunting his development until the offensive line and the skill position players start playing more cohesively. Plus, the Cardinals simply believe, after having watched Bradford and Rosen in preseason and in practices since the start of the regular season, Bradford still represents the team’s best chance to win at this juncture.

But Arizona does have some financial incentive to get Rosen in the lineup sooner rather than later. As Adam Schefter of ESPN.com observes, for each game that Bradford is active this season, he will earn a $312,500 bonus. So, if the Cardinals were to release or deactivate Bradford this week, they would save $4MM in potential roster bonuses, a number that obviously decreases with each game that Bradford is on the 46-man roster.

Schefter also offers his take on Rosen’s development. He says that Rosen has taken some first-team reps, and “those around him” believe he is making progress and will become the team’s starting QB in fairly short order. Of course, that could still mean that Rosen will have to wait several more weeks, just as Rapoport suggested.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals’ Starting QB Job ‘Sam Bradford’s To Lose’

Despite Sam Bradford having not participated in as much of the Cardinals’ offseason program, Steve Wilks has determined the injury-prone veteran is his starter, barring something unexpected. The first-year coach said the Cards’ QB1 job is Bradford’s to lose, per Kyle Odegard of AZCardinals.com, then indicating Josh Rosen and Mike Glennon will compete for the backup position.

The Cardinals brought the ninth-year quarterback along slowly this offseason. Bradford has not played extensively since the 2016 season. He started twice for the 2017 Vikings but made it through just one game healthy.

This is the time where he needs to step it up,” Wilks said of Bradford’s return to action. “He understands and knows that. We’ve got to proceed forward with our timing. He’s ready.”

During Arizona’s offseason program, Wilks labeled this an open competition with the caveat Bradford was signed to start this season. He’s not wavering from that stance at this point. Bradford is expected to practice fully during camp. Wilks said he feels “great” about where Bradford’s at in his return from his latest bout of significant knee trouble.

I didn’t play a ton of football last year, so being able to get back in the flow of things, get back in rhythm and play again, and see how my knee reacts, see how my mind reacts out there on the field in practice,” Bradford said. “I think it’s important in these next couple of weeks to re-establish that rhythm.”

West Rumors: Gates, Cardinals, Chiefs

Less than a month remains until the Chargers break for training camp, and they have not yet made a move to fill the void Hunter Henry‘s ACL tear created. The Bolts have reached out to Antonio Gates, but the future Hall of Famer remains unattached. However, longtime Gates teammate LaDainian Tomlinson believes the 38-year-old pass-catcher is not interested in overtures from other teams, especially given the Chargers’ current predicament.

I believe the only place Antonio wants to play is the Chargers,” said Tomlinson, who serves as a special assistant to the Chargers’ front office, on SiriusXM NFL Radio (via NFL.com). “I think he has the mind frame of, ‘If I go play, it’s gonna be for the Chargers. If it’s not the Chargers, then I’m good; I won’t play.”

Gates has not been connected to other teams this offseason. The Chargers and Gates have been circling each other for weeks now. A reunion — one Tom Telesco is now open to — may come during camp in the event the Bolts are not pleased with their tight end situation. Virgil Green represents the only proven healthy tight end on the roster at this point.

Shifting to one of the teams that will start camp earlier because of the hiring of a new head coach, here’s what’s new out of the West divisions.

  • Based on the events of this offseason, Christian Kirk expects the first NFL passes he’ll catch to be from Sam Bradford. Despite the Cardinals easing their injury-plagued acquisition into work, Kirk’s gotten the impression Bradford will be the starter in Week 1. “To be honest, just with what the coaches have said and just the way it’s looking, I’m pretty sure Sam is going to start,” Kirk said during an NFL Total Access appearance (via NFL.com). Bradford’s Vikings run encountered a steep descent after Week 1 of last season, so recent Josh Rosen praise is probably relevant to the Cards’ short-term matters as well as their long-distance future.
  • One of the Cardinals who can expect more work in 2018 will be Ricky Seals-Jones, per Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com (Twitter link). Jurecki sees the second-year UDFA seeing far more targets compared to the 28 he saw last season, even with Jermaine Gresham still on the team. Seals-Jones caught 12 passes for 201 yards and three TDs in 2017.
  • Attempting to piece together a new-look secondary, the Chiefs are trying Steven Nelson as an outside cornerback. Nelson played almost exclusively outside during Kansas City’s offseason program, per Nate Taylor of The Athletic (subscription required). “I’m an outside corner,” he said, via Taylor. “I’ll just say that. It’s up to the coaches. I can play both, I’m versatile. But for this (summer), I’ve been outside.” Nelson previously functioned as K.C.’s slot corner in both 2016 and ’17, but with Kendall Fuller now in line to commandeer that role, the Chiefs are shuttling Nelson to the boundary in advance of his contract year. Nelson served as a full-time corner in 2016 before an injury-plagued 2017, and a Fuller-Nelson-David Amerson setup could be in the works for K.C. post-Marcus Peters. Not much depth exists behind this troika, so this would be the logical top three going into camp.

Extra Points: Hackenberg, Cardinals, Colts

Some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • Raiders coach Jon Gruden has never been a fan of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, and he attribute quarterback Christian Hackenberg‘s recent release to the CBA’s limitations. “Everybody is an expert out there on Hackenberg and thinks he can’t play,” Gruden said (via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com). “It’s unfortunate, this whole collective [bargaining agreement]. How do you develop a quarterback? I don’t know how you do it. … It is hard enough to get Connor Cook enough reps, let alone a fourth guy. It really depresses me how we can’t spend more time with these young quarterbacks, and it is really going to be an impactful situation on the NFL in the future.” The former second-round pick was released by the Raiders after having been acquired from the Jets several weeks ago.
  • First-round quarterback Josh Rosen is undoubtedly impressing in Cardinals‘ camp, but Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com believes Sam Bradford will still be the team’s starter heading into the season. The veteran has the upper hand when it comes to accuracy and throwing power, and while the team is planning on bringing him along slowly (Bradford suffered another knee injury last season), he’s expected to be atop the depth chart at the start of the season.
  • The Colts are curiously attempting to switch linebacker John Simon to defensive end. As Zak Keefer of IndyStar.com writes, this is an especially questionable move considering the team’s lack of depth at linebacker. So far, no one on the Colts sounds overly optimistic about the switch. Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus didn’t give a glowing review of the 27-year-old, acknowledging that Simon lacks the size of a typical defensive end. “What you have to do is use your attributes, your strengths, use your get-off, all those things,” he explained. “He’ll figure it out as we go.”
  • Former Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage has been named the general manager of the Alliance of American Football league’s Phoenix franchise (via SBJ’s Liz Mullen on Twitter). The 53-year-old was also the Browns general manager between 2005 and 2008.