Philadelphia Eagles: Is Sam Bradford the next Nick Foles?

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

With Nick Foles all but set to test free agency, could Sam(my Sleeves) Bradford be the Philadelphia Eagles’ next great quarterback reclamation project?

A few months back, I wrote an article detailing why the New York Giants should have signed Sam Bradford.

At the time, it made perfect sense; the former Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller had just been released by the Arizona Cardinals, and with Eli Manning looking like a shell of his former glory(ish), the back half of the season could have been a nice audition to see if Bradford could recapture his 2016 magic under his former offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

In hindsight, that idea was somewhat misguided, as it’s abundantly clear New York is looking to go young in finding their next signal-caller, and Bradford’s age simply doesn’t line up with the team’s current timetable for contention.

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Maybe Sam Bradford isn’t the next Kirk Cousins, but could he be the next Nick Foles?

At this point, the lore of Nick Foles is about as ingrained in the City of Brotherly Love as the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but for those who’d like a brief stroll down memory lane, here ya go: after initially lighting up the league under Chip Kelly, Foles bounced around the league following his trade to St. Louis before eventually returning to Philly as a backup to Carson Wentz.

That move worked out pretty well.

However, some may forget that when the duo were initially traded, it was Bradford, not Foles, who was considered the better player and by extension required more draft capital to secure a deal.

And initially, it looked like Philly had won the deal.

Sure, Bradford didn’t put up the flashy stats that Foles did in 2013, but he did set the franchise record for a single-season completion percentage (65.5) his final year under Kelly while throwing for 3,725 in 14 games.

Had Kelly not been fired before the final game of the 2015 season (ugh), it’s very possible that Sammy Sleeves would still be the Eagles’ quarterback in 2018, as he played just good enough to keep the team right around the .500 mark.

Thankfully, that’s not the case, as when Doug Pederson was hired, and Howie Roseman was reinstated, the organization committed themselves wholeheartedly to finding the next great Eagles franchise quarterback. But had Wentz not impressed the same way he did in camp, it’s entirely possible that Bradford may not have been traded to the Minnesota Vikings a week prior to the 2016 regular season.

No, had Teddy Bridgewater not suffered that gruesome leg injury that put his very future in question, it’s entirely possible the Eagles would have followed the time-honored tradition of applying a veteran at the beginning of the season before eventually handing over the reins to his younger understudy once things begin to get out of hand.

Thankfully, that didn’t happen, as the Bradford pick became Derek Barnett, who was an invaluable part of the Eagles’ eventual Super Bowl run, but after spending entire offseason and most of a preseason in midnight green, Bradford is one of about a handful of quarterbacks in the league right now with experience in Pederson, an asset that could become invaluable when Foles eventually jumps ship.

If history is of any indication, the Eagles are a team that needs to invest in the backup quarterback position.

Sure, they could go young and continue to roll with Nate Sudfeld as their QB two, but the young former fifth-round pick out of Indiana has only appeared in three NFL games for the Eagles, all of which have either been in spot-up duty as a reserve, or in an end of season snooze fest.

Wentz’s injury history is well-documented at this point, so going young at QB may be a bit too risky for Roseman’s blood, especially since he clearly thinks the Eagles are still within their championship window.

Now granted, one could argue that investing money and a roster spot into a backup quarterback with a similarly extensive injury history is bad juju, to which I say fair, but outside of Foles, and maybe Bridgewater, there’s not a backup quarterback in this league who could in good conscience propel his team to a serious postseason berth if their starting quarterback goes down.

Bradford has that experience, and when healthy, can look an awful lot like a top 30 quarterback. He has won 33 games in his career and currently holds a 103-61 touchdown-to-interception ratio. If he has to step in and win three or four games during the season Bradford can likely get you two, and maybe even three, without having to alter his team’s scheme noticeably.

The same cannot be said for the other top backup quarterbacks on the market, names that should inspire ‘meh’ reactions at best like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyrod Taylor, and Trevor Siemian.

Next. Dear Nick Foles (Part One); First Flight Around. dark

No matter how you slice it, if Nick Foles ops to leave the City of Brotherly Love, and finish out his career in a different jersey, an outcome that looks more and more likely with each passing day, the Eagles are going to have to invest in someone to fortify their quarterback position moving forward. Whether that be a veteran, an in-house elevation, or even a prospect in the 2019 draft, all options should be on the table for the second most important position on the Philadelphia Eagles roster. And one of the top names on that list should be Sam Bradford.