The Eagles surprised the NFL and all of Philadelphia by trading quarterback Nick Foles, a fourth-round pick in 2015, and a second-round pick in 2016 to the Rams for quarterback Sam Bradford and a fifth-round pick in 2015. Many think that coach Chip Kelly has another surprise or two up his sleeve.
And it’s not just fans and media. Josina Anderson of ESPN.com reports that some of the coaches at the West Virginia University Pro Day (where receiver Kevin White showcased his talents on Friday) weren’t convinced that Kelly will keep Bradford, and that Bradford could get shipped to the Titans for the second overall pick in the draft, and the ability to land quarterback Marcus Mariota.
The easy reaction, as articulated by Paul Kuharsky of ESPN, is that if the Titans wanted Bradford they could have dealt with the Rams directly.
But it would have cost the Rams a lot more than Bradford to get the No. 2 overall pick, as the Rams know from the stuff they got when they traded down only four spots from No. 2 in 2012. If Fisher isn’t convinced that Mariota will become a franchise quarterback, why make the broader investment that would have been necessary to unload Bradford for an unproven rookie?
Kelly is very convinced about Mariota, and Kelly has proven to be sufficiently unpredictable to prevent anyone from ruling out pretty much anything. Sure, Kelly is saying he won’t mortgage the future to trade up (which may simply be part of the negotiation process), and Kelly gave $40 million contract to Bradford’s college roommate. But Kelly will still do whatever he wants to do, especially since he now has the unfettered power to do it.
If Kelly wants to end the chatter about flipping Bradford for Mariota (especially with Mariota embracing it), Kelly has an easy way to do it. He can sign Bradford to a new contract, and he can insert the same no-trade clause the Broncos gave to Peyton Manning and the Cardinals gave to Larry Fitzgerald.
Of course, even a no-trade clause for Bradford won’t completely eliminate the speculation about Kelly trying to get Mariota. But it would definitely end any talk of Kelly using Bradford as a pawn in Chip’s game of chess.