Roseman Breaks Silence on Bradford
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — Howie Roseman wants Sam Bradford back with the Philadelphia Eagles but only if it makes sense for both sides.
The Eagles' football-operations chief broke his silence on the pending free agent in an interview for the team's official website.
“We have all been clear that we like Sam (as a player), and we’d like to have him back," Roseman said before placing a caveat on that rather declarative statement.
"(It's) whether we can figure something out (financially) that makes sense on both sides. Sometimes we get into a situation where we sit here and it will make sense from the team’s perspective but when you’re talking about a negotiation, it’s also got to work for the other side and the player, and we understand that. ...hopefully this will all work out and we’ll look at that depth chart when we line up here in July and be really excited about the position.”
That soft advocacy for Bradford seems to align with NFL sources, who told 973espn.com that the Eagles have no intention of placing the franchise tag on Bradford and will let him test his value on the open market.
The 2016 franchise tag for the quarterback position is expected to come in at just under $20 million. Roseman has until March 1 to make a final decision but all indications are that the only way the team will bring back Bradford is if the ultimate contract numbers are more team friendly, as in $15M to $17M a year range.
The conventional wisdom is that some quarterback-desperate team will be willing to move toward the $20 million mark because of the projected rise in the salary cap but the current landscape of QB contracts may dispute that.
The current highest-paid signal caller in all of football in Aaron Rodgers, who clocks in at $22 million. Only eight others — Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Drew Brees — reach $20 million. Six of those nine quarterbacks have won Super Bowls, Newton just came up short in SB 50 and Rivers and Ryan have reached eight Pro Bowls between them. Bradford, meanwhile is 25-37-1 as an NFL starter.
Roseman also danced around one potential Plan B at the position: rewinding and bringing Nick Foles back should the Rams move on from the former Eagles starter who was sent to that organization, along with a second-round pick, for Bradford before the 2015 season, a deal that likely never happens if Roseman was not in exile at the time.
“You sit in the office right now and there’s not a lot of names on the quarterback depth chart that are under contract right now," Roseman said. "And so we’ve gotta look at every option.
"We've gotta look at every possibility, and they go from starting possibilities to backup possibilities to who's going to be our third. We take four to camp, we've got one right now on our roster, and so we've gotta bring quarterbacks in here. So every discussion that we're having isn't necessarily only on the basis of who's going to be our starter, it's also: who's going to be here to compete and add depth and value to that position?"
The Eagles started that process on Thursday by bringing in strong-armed journeyman McLeod Bethel-Thompson as a potential third-team option.
The 27-year-old Bethel-Thompson, whose had previous stints in San Francisco, Minnesota, Miami and New England, is a big, traditional pocket passer (6-foot-4, 230) known for his fastball and shows the significant shift in philosophy from Chip Kelly to Doug Pederson.
As for Foles, the Rams would have to take a significant $8 million cap hit to release him, something that seems unlikely on the surface but became at least a bit easier Friday afternoon after the team released three veterans, defensive end Chris Long, linebacker James Laurinaitis and tight end Jared Cook, moves that saved the organization a combined $24.375 million in cap space for next season.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen