The fact that Sam Bradford is upset the Eagles traded up in the draft for a quarterback is understandable. The fact that Bradford feels betrayed by this also shows a lack of insight into how business works in the NFL. But the fact that Bradford seems to believe this relatively minor setback is somehow terrible for his career is where he's ultimately mistaken.
Let's suppose for a moment Bradford's sensitivities are somehow relevant to the Eagles' plans. He wants to be the starter someplace long-term. He doesn't view himself as a placeholder or stopgap. These are nice goals, but they don't necessarily reflect reality.
The reality is Bradford had the opportunity to become a free agent in March, only the market for his services was soft. He can say he wanted to re-sign with with the Eagles all he wants, and it may very well be true. That genius super-agent Tom Condon could only get Bradford a glorified one-year deal speaks to how the signal-caller was being viewed around the league at the time.
What? You thought Condon - along with vice president of football operations Howie Roseman - pulled those contract numbers from the sky?
Yet for that same reason, Bradford suddenly finds himself in a situation many players would envy. He has an opportunity to spin the wheel again next offseason and court an even bigger payday. In essence, he's on a "prove-it deal," because the Eagles would likely trade or release him before swallowing a $22.5 million hit against the salary cap in 2017. That inevitably means more money and more years someplace else, provided he's earned them.
And the Eagles are a perfectly viable showcase for Bradford's talents. He's already developed a strong rapport with receivers Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz. There is no shortage of quarterbacks coaches on the staff in Doug Pederson, Frank Reich and John DeFilippo, two of whom actually played in the NFL. Bradford even has experience in a west coast offense similar to what Pederson will employ.
Bradford has the potential to flourish this season. If he does, he'll either make $17 million as a member of the Eagles - nothing to sneeze at - or his request for a trade will be granted and he'll receive the long-term pact and security he feels he deserves.
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The only thing Bradford won't have next year is the ability to control his own destiny again should he play well. Well, news flash, as much as he'd like to force his way to Denver on draft day, he doesn't have that now.
He wants to be traded? Wait a year.
Perhaps the Eagles owed it to Bradford to be more forthcoming about their intentions in the draft during negotiations. Granted, they made no secret of their interest in Jared Goff or Carson Wentz, but let's go with this. So does Bradford in turn owe nothing to the Eagles, the organization that traded a second-round pick to the Rams a year ago to acquire him after he hadn't played professional football in nearly two years?
Sorry if I don't weep for Bradford. He chose to be blissfully ignorant to the Eagles' quarterback search and re-sign with the team. He remains the starter for now at least and will be rewarded handsomely for it. He's in a good offense with extremely qualified coaches. He's playing for the organization that may have saved his NFL career. Oh, and if he performs well this season, he'll make a lot more money in 2017 and beyond.
Bradford has absolutely nothing to complain about given the circumstances. Everything he wants, he still has every opportunity to go out and earn. That's more than a lot of people can say.