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.