Matthew Stafford may not be the only NFC North quarterback headed for the franchise tag in 2018.
Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford also enters the last year of his contract. He told reporters on Wednesday that “nothing has changed” regarding the deal, via Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The Vikings could extend Bradford at any time before March. The question becomes whether he’d pull the plug on negotiations at some point before then.
The bigger question, looming for 2018, is whether the Vikings would use the franchise tag to keep him from leaving. If so, Bradford would make more than $22 million in 2018, with a 20-percent raise in 2019 and then a 44-percent raise looming for 2020.
Bradford will make $18 million this year, the second season of a two-year, $36 million deal. Last year, the Vikings paid only $7 million to Bradford, with the Eagles forking over the other $11 million before trading him.
Before that came a six-year, $78 million contract, pushing Bradford’s career earnings to $114 million through 2017. The money he has made will make it easier for Bradford to dig in and refuse subpar offers and hit the open market next year, or take the franchise tag.
From Minnesota’s perspective, committing to Bradford would mean de-committing to Teddy Bridgewater. So the Vikings will be kicking the can in 2017, and possibly in 2018.