The Eagles claim that Sam Bradford is the team’s starting quarterback. Technically, he currently is. But a lot can change between April 21 and the launch of the regular season.
Change could be brought on by Bradford wanting out. Reportedly miffed that the Eagles traded up in their ongoing search for a franchise quarterback (a sentiment that surely was leaked by Bradford’s camp to send a message to the Eagles and the rest of the league), Bradford could make things very difficult for the team if he doesn’t want to be there.
Meanwhile, the Broncos and Jets are still looking for a starting quarterback. And with Bradford’s $11 million signing bonus already earned, another team could acquire him on what would be a two-year, $24 million deal. For the rest of 2016, it’s a base salary of $7 million.
Yes, $7 million. The same amount the Broncos want to pay Colin Kaepernick. And the same amount the Jets would like to pay Ryan Fitzpatrick.
So why shouldn’t either or both team call the Eagles? They can say what they want about Bradford being the starter. But if he makes his displeasure known to the organization, the Eagles have to decide whether to get what they can and move on or force Bradford to be the starter against his wishes.
With only $5.5 million of Bradford’s signing bonus paid out and $5.5 million remaining, the Eagles may want to try to foist some of that obligation onto Bradford’s new team. Or maybe the Eagles would pay the rest, if they get the kind of trade compensation that would help restore the picks surrendered to the Browns in the trade up to No. 2.
Last year, Bradford didn’t extend his deal with the Eagles due in part to concern that the Eagles would trade him as part of an effort to get in position to land Marcus Mariota. This year, with a two-year deal done, it’s Bradford who may want the trade.
Whether he gets it may depend on how difficult he’s willing to make it in Philly.