Clarity Emerges in Bradford Deal
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The devil is always in the details of NFL contracts.
The Eagles re-signed quarterback Sam Bradford to a two-year, $36 million deal just minutes after the NFL's deadline to tag pending free agents expired with $26 million of that reportedly guaranteed.
A closer look at the numbers provided to ESPN's Andrew Brandt, however, paint the picture of a big-money, one-year deal with a relatively palatable team option for Philadelphia if Bradford excels in 2016.
According to Brandt, Bradford's real guarantee when pen is put to paper is $22 million. He will make $18 million ($11 million signing bonus and $7 million base salary) in '16 with incentives that could push that number to the $20 million he and agent Tom Condon reportedly sought if Bradford helps the Eagles reach and win in the postseason.
As far as the salary cap goes, Bradford's hit is a very manageable $12.5 million, actually less than the near $13 million number he carried last season.
According to USA Today's Tom Pelissero, a $4 million roster bonus is due in March 2017 and Bradford's base salary for '17 jumps to $13 million so the Eagles will need to make their decision on him right as the new league year is about to begin.
If they decide to move on the Oklahoma product is still guaranteed $4 million in '17 and Philadelphia would incur $9.5 million in dead money toward their '17 salary cap, a significant number but not an unworkable one especially if the cap continues to grow incrementally.
Bradford's cap number for '17, however, reaches past $23 million, an untenable figure, which means if the signal caller does play extremely well next season, the Eagles can basically exercise the team option with the intent on renegotiation.
The far more likely end game, though, is we are back in the same position next March with Bradford ready to hit free agency unless Howie Roseman works out a completely new deal.
In essence this is kicking the can down the road 12 months with an inventive deal that enables both sides of the table to hold their heads high and claim they got what they needed.
From the Eagles' perspective they were able to keep Bradford off the free-agent market and get a team-option for an extra year on paper at the cost of $22 million, while Bradford can keep making significant money if he delivers.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen