Eagles Get Bradford Deal Done
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — He may not be the franchise but the Eagles clearly identified that Sam Bradford is a pretty solid bridge by signing the veteran quarterback to a two-year, $36 million deal just minutes after the NFL's deadline to tag pending free agents expired.
Momentum has been mounting in recent days that the Eagles would be getting something done with Bradford as it became clearer and clearer that the demand for his services would not be as rabid as advertised if he were to hit the open market.
After taking the temperature of the league at the NFL's Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Eagles executive of vice president of football operations Howie Roseman was able to cobble together a team-friendly deal that satisfied Bradford's agent, the highly-regarded Tom Condon.
Bradford's deal averages $18 per season so he gets a decent raise on paper and the $26 million guaranteed is very manageable for the position when spaced over two years. Meanwhile, the length of the deal enables the Eagles to bring in a young quarterback through the draft who will not be thrown to the wolves in one of the nation's toughest media markets.
Bradford, 28, was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2010 draft and was originally acquired by the Eagles last March in the deal that sent Nick Foles and the team's 2016 second-round pick to St. Louis.
At the time Bradford was coming off back-to-back ACL injuries but he stayed healthy for the most part last season, starting 14 games and finishing with a career-high 65.0 percent completion percentage, while throwing for 3,725 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions for a 86.4 passer rating.
Bradford's passing-yardage total was the fourth-highest in franchise history, while his 346 completions and his 65.3 completion percentage were new Eagles single-season marks.
Of the 38 quarterbacks rated by ProFootballFocus.com, Bradford was a very respectable No. 11 overall after a strong second half to his inaugural season in Philadelphia.
Speaking at the combine last week, Roseman intimated that Bradford was in Philadelphia’s plans if a deal that was agreeable to both sides could be worked out. First-year coach Doug Pederson spoke in even stronger tones.
“All I know, if Sam wants to be in Philadelphia, then he’ll be in Philadelphia,” Pederson said.
Tuesday's franchise- and transition-tag deadline was key because the Eagles would have lost at least some leverage if Bradford went untagged with free agency looming next week.
At $19.9 million, the franchise tag was untenable but the transition level of $17.696 million would have at least signified Philadelphia's level of interest.
It turned out Roseman let the clock run out because he already had the deal in his pocket, just the latest in a series of extensions that can best be described as taking care of your own.
Bradford joins tight ends Zach Ertz and Brent Celek, as well as offensive tackle Lane Johnson, defensive end Vinny Curry, linebacker Najee Goode and safety Malcolm Jenkins as players who’ve gotten new contracts before the 2016 league year starts on March 9.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen