In an utterly shocking turn of events, Chip Kelly and the Eagles traded for Sam Bradford just moments after the start of the official free agent signing period. After the news broke there was about two or three hours of confusion as to what the trade details were.
At first it was thought the Eagles and Rams had swapped first round picks. That would have made more sense to me and lessened the blow. However, when the dust settled, this was the deal that was announced…
Rams get Nick Foles, our fourth and a 2016 second round pick.
Eagles get Sam Bradford and the Rams’ 2015 fifth round pick.
Then came everyone’s immediate reaction…
Sorry for the graphic display, but it correctly illustrates the point.
Sam Bradford? SAM BRADFORD? Sam F R E A K I N G Bradford?!?!?!?!?!?!
Denial quickly set in as it was thought that somehow, someway, this just HAD to be a move that would eventually turn into a way to trade up for Marcus Mariota. I mean, there is no way on God’s Green Earth that Chip “targeted” Bradford as “his guy”…RIGHT?
Well, apparently that is EXACTLY the case as the Eagles themselves had this to say…
And so a deal was done on Tuesday, one that brings to Philadelphia the quarterback that head coach Chip Kelly wants. He wanted Sam Bradford. He identified Sam Bradford as a special talent who can make this offense soar.
The Eagles, despite the overwhelming rush by the media and fans to think otherwise, were not going to move up, up, up in the draft and take Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, the Heisman Trophy winner whom Kelly recruited.
Then, of course, maybe you saw Chip Kelly’s press conference just a little bit ago where he reaffirmed Bradford and shot down the “crazy stuff” about trading up for Mariota.
Interestingly, though, he said during his presser that he was just offered a first round pick for Bradford this morning. Then again, he also stated he didn’t bring in Bradford to “be a chip” (trade chip) and that he’s “the only chip here.”
I’m going to make an educated guess here and say that he is lying through his teeth about being offered a first round pick. If he was worth that much, why would the Rams have taken what is essentially Foles and a 2016 second if some team thinks he’s worth a first?
But anyway…so, there you have it. Bradford is, in fact, Chip’s guy. This is the QB that will ultimately define his first stint as an NFL head coach. Chip and the Eagles’ organization are in full sell-mode that this is the case and that they are not engaging in a game of subterfuge.
Now, let’s break this down a little bit…
Bradford is coming off of two straight years in which his season ended after tearing the ACL in the same knee. He has started 49 games in his four year career and posted a 58.6 completion percentage, 59 TDs, 38 INTs, 18 fumbles, 6.29 yards per attempt and a career passer rating of 79.3.
Foles, by comparison has 28 starts with a 61.6 completion percentage, 46 TDs, 17 INTs, 10 fumbles, 7.56 yards per attempt and a career passer rating of 94.2.
Just going by the numbers, who looks like the better QB? And if you were told that player No. 1 was coming off of two straight ACL tears, who would you rather have?
When talking about this trade — just the trade itself — the value here is backwards.
Foles, not Bradford, should have been the more valuable asset in this deal. If you would have asked me if a Nick Foles for Sam Bradford trade straight-up was a fair deal, I probably would have said no but could have accepted it.
But, if you would have said I’d have to give you a fourth for a fifth and tack on the next year’s second rounder I would have laughed you all the way back to St. Louis.
Not that Foles has killer trade value, but I certainly would have thought he’d have more value than Bradford…easily.
All I can envision in the trade negotiations is that of Chip playing Kevin Costner’s role in “Draft Day” and the Rams were that movie’s version of the Seahawks when the GM was told to “Fleece him!”
Then after the deal was struck, the Rams are sitting back, giggling in their chairs while putting their feet up on the desk, smoking a cigar and sipping some bourbon.
I mean, really. In terms of value, this could be the worst trade in Eagles history.
Unfortunately, what’s done is done. Chip showed his rookie NFL GM skills and got fleeced in a trade. Hopefully he learns from it.
As far as Chip having legitimate interest in Bradford, I had to go back to his college days to find out why. He ran an up-tempo, shotgun-based spread attack at Oklahoma. The offense he ran there is very similar to what Chip likes to do in the NFL.
Bradford posted some pretty gaudy stats in his sophomore season when he completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 4,720 yards, a whopping 50 TDs and just 8 INTs. His freshman year wasn’t too shabby either (69.5%, 3,121, 36/8).
However, his final season was cut short by a shoulder injury that required surgery (big surprise).
Here’s a good scouting report on him by The Huddle from back in 2010…take the time to read it as it’s pretty good. Here’s a few highlights…
Sam has ideal size for a quarterback prospect with a tall frame as well as having had the chance to add bulk during the 2009 season when he missed all but three games with a season-ending shoulder injury. He’s an intelligent quarterback, having scored a 36 on the wonderlic, a very good score, in addition to having very good instincts and game-managing skills at the quarterback position.
Bradford has excellent accuracy with the ability to deliver the ball consistently to the receiver in the precise location it needs to be. His pocket presence is good, but not great with a solid understanding of where the pass rush is coming from. He’s shown nice athleticism with the ability to take off and make a play with his legs (five rushing touchdowns in 2008).
One more note relating to the system; many of the throws that Bradford has had to make in his college career have been easy and simple. Throwing screens and dump off passes to explosive running backs, tight ends, and receivers have shown exactly how Bradford’s stats can inflate with just one five-yard toss.
Bradford’s reads and progressions are also simplified in the system. He has several options running favorable routes for the quarterback, such as five-to-ten yard underneath patterns and screens. When he did have to throw the ball down the field, he had the best tight end in the nation there to make acrobatic and spectacular catches in case Bradford was inaccurate.
You don’t throw 50 touchdowns in a 14-game college football season without playing in a system; Graham Harrell, Colt Brennan, and Timmy Chang can all attest to that, as they are the last three players to put up statistics that rival Bradford’s; Harrell and Chang never played a down in the NFL and Brennan is nothing more than a career backup at this point.
It’s a mixed review scouting report that, based on what we’ve seen in the NFL, is pretty spot on.
Bradford has been a tremendous disappointment in St. Louis. He had a decent rookie season under his then, and now, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur when he completed 60 percent of his passes for 3,512 yards with 18 TDs against 15 INTs.
That’s not bad for a rookie, but the thing is he never really improved. The Eagles will tell you (and they have) that he didn’t succeed due to the talent around him in St. Louis (OL, skill players, etc) as well as suffering from incompetent coaching.
While that may be true to some extent, it doesn’t excuse it.
I still need time to think about Bradford as a starter in Chip’s offense. It’s possible he could excel, but he is going to need help. Particularly in the form of protection from his offensive line…the man is a walking injury.
Some folks out there still think Bradford could be traded again in a package that would net Kelly’s true desire in Mariota. Perhaps that’s why he volunteered the information that he received a first round offer this morning.
And when asked if Sam Bradford was going to be his long term QB, Kelly answered “We’ll see.”
Yes Chip, we will see.