Philadelphia Eagles: No country for quarterback Sam Bradford

(Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) /

Once considered a can’t miss franchise quarterback, ex-Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford is a lame duck once more.

Sam Bradford has to be one of the biggest enigmas in the NFL.

After being selected first overall in the 2010 NFL draft by the then-St. Louis Rams, the ex-Oklahoma Sooners star has been one of the highest-paid players over his tenure in the league, having averaged over $12 million a season over his eight-year career, but even after winning Rookie of the Year in 2010, he’s never truly found a home in the league.

Chalk it up to fragility, as Bradford has only appeared in 80 of a possible 126 regular season games, but after only two 16 game seasons with the Rams, the team was all too willing to ship their ‘franchise quarterback’ to South Philly for a then-regressing Nick Foles.

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And after a good, but not great 7-7 season helming Chip Kelly‘s offense in 2017, where he set the Eagles’ franchise completion percentage record, Bradford once again found his name on the trade block.

With Howie Roseman back in power following Kelly’s ousting and a new coaching staff specifically picked for their ability to develop a rookie quarterback, Bradford had to stand by helplessly and watch his team trade up twice to select Carson Wentz second overall in 2016 NFL draft to sooner or later take his starting spot.

Emphasis on sooner.

After an impressive preseason debut, Wentz immediately flew up the Eagles depth chart even after suffering an injury in the game, and quickly made Bradford expendable, with the team ultimately shipping their starting quarterback to Minnesota to replace a then-injured Teddy Bridgewater.

While this trade ultimately signaled that the Philadelphia Eagles did not think they could win a Super Bowl with Sammy Sleeves under center, the Vikings were more than willing to part with a first-round pick for Bradford’s services, and he quickly established himself as a fan favorite in Minnesota.

Reunited with his former offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Bradford put up great numbers in the 2016 season, throwing for 3877 yards and 20 touchdowns in 14 games of action, and looked like he may have finally found a home.

But to paraphrase college football great Lee Corso “not so fast, my friend”.

After suffering an injury in Week 1 of the 2017 season, Bradford watch from the sidelines as his former Rams backup Case Keenum lead the Vikings to a 13-3 record while taking the team all the way to the NFC championship game where the team would face off against the Eagles in South Philly for a chance to compete in the Super Bowl in front of their home crowd.

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Though the Viking ultimately got blown out by a score of 38-7, Minnesota had a decision to make as to which of their soon-to-be free agent quarterbacks to retain for 2018 season, with the team ultimately deciding to bypass all three in favor of former Redskins starter Kirk Cousins in yet another attempt to land a franchise-caliber quarterback.

Once again looking for a new team, Bradford decided to head west to fill the shoes of fellow Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer in the Arizona desert.

Signing a one-year deal worth $20 million, Bradford immediately slotted in as the Arizona Cardinals‘ starting quarterback heading into 2018, in an attempt to return to the playoffs for what could be Larry Fitzgerald‘s final season, but as has become customary for Bradford, adversity reared its ugly head.

In what must feel like deja vu at this point, Bradford watched as his new team traded up to select his inevitable successor, UCLA starter Josh Rosen with the 10th pick in the 2018 NFL draft, in a move that essentially made him a lame duck quarterback once more.

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While it appears Bradford will get the first crack at the Card’s starting job and may get another chance to put some plays on tape for whichever team he goes to next, at this point, is there even a team who would even consider bringing in the 30-year-old journeyman as a starter?

Other than potentially reuniting with Shurmur to lead the New York Giants once Eli Manning retires, as the team did not select a marquee quarterback in the 2018 NFL draft, how many teams in the league are willing to invest guaranteed money on a player who simply can’t stay healthy long-term?

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Though he will be paid handsomely for his time in 2017, regardless of who wins the Cardinals quarterback competition, and will likely receive similar offers again when he hits free agency in March of 2019, as when he’s healthy, he’s a top-20 quarterback, is there a future for Bradford in this league as a franchise quarterbacks? Only time will tell, but after watching Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Kirk Cousins all receive long-term deals on his former teams one thing is clear: Sam Bradford will be looking for work elsewhere in 2019.