Every new G.M. wants to hire his own coach, and every new coach wants to find his own quarterback. And so, with both G.M. Billy Devaney and coach Steve Spagnuolo in danger of being fired by the Rams after Sunday’s season finale against the 49ers, there’s no guarantee that their replacements will want to keep Bradford.
Three years ago, for example, Josh McDaniels decided he didn’t want Jay Cutler to be the quarterback of the Broncos. And so, after several weeks of ugliness, Cutler was traded to Chicago. It’s unlikely that McDaniels interviewed for the job wearing on his sleeve open disdain for Cutler’s game — and it’s unlikely that the candidate for the Rams’ job will say anything other than that which owner Stan Kroenke wants to hear when it comes to his team’s franchise quarterback.
But the secret wishes of the next head coach may not matter. As to Bradford, the franchise and the quarterback are tied together financially. Since Bradford was the last No. 1 pick of the rookie windfall contract era, moving Bradford to another team won’t be easy.
Per a source with knowledge of Bradford’s contract, the team already has paid him $30 million in only two seasons. He has $12 million guaranteed due in 2012, and he’s scheduled to earn another $9 million guaranteed in 2013.
And so, to trade Bradford, the Rams would need to find a team willing to cough up $21 million guaranteed over two years, which is only one million less than the total money Cam Newton received on a four-year contract as the top pick in 2011. Likewise, Bradford’s new team would have to be willing to give up multiple picks and/or players, with the package sent from Oakland to Cincinnati for Carson Palmer being the potential benchmark.
With Bradford’s buzz greatly diminished, it would be hard to persuade any team to give up anything of significant value for his services. Even then, the Rams would be watching $30 million walk away.
It would make far more sense then, now that the Rams have “earned” the No. 2 pick and the ability to pick Robert Griffin III (or Andrew Luck if Griffin leapfrogs Luck), to trade the selection for multiple picks and/or players, which could then be used to get more help around Bradford as the reconstituted Rams move forward.