Eagles Place Ball in Bradford’s Court
(973espn.com) — The Eagles want Sam Bradford back ... sort of.
Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman again intimated that Bradford is in Philadelphia's plans if a deal that's agreeable to both sides can be worked out.
The Eagles want a deal but if Bradford and agent Tom Condon are intent on getting five years and $100 million in free agency, they'll have to do it in another city.
The Eagles continue to say all the right things when it comes to Bradford but they continue to show little interest in placing the franchise tag on the quarterback, which is expected to be right around $20 million for 2016.
“Sam’s a part of the Eagles’ organization and what he’s done in the last half of last year I think has given him an opportunity to stay in Philadelphia,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “Being in his shoes, being a player in his shoes, you have to want to be somewhere. And I think Sam wants to be in Philly.”
Roseman has until March 1 to make a final decision on thst franchise tag 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.
And Pederson firmly placed the ball in Bradford's court with quite the declarative statement: "All I know, if Sam wants to be in Philadelphia, then he'll be in Philadelphia."
Roseman refused to get into the negotiations with Bradford’s camp but did acknowledge the importance of this week in Indianapolis in trying to keep Bradford from hitting free agency on March 9.
“It’s never productive to talk about an ongoing negotiation, but we’ve been pretty clear we’d like to have Sam back," Roseman said. "It’s along those lines one of the great things about the combine, is you get everyone together in one place. When you have pending free agent, you want to talk to those agents face-to-face and eye-to-eye … We’ll meet with a lot of people. Tom (Condon, Sam Bradford’s agent), CAA,
they’ve got a lot of players. We’ll be running into Tom Condon at some point in the next couple of days.”
Contingency plans remain in place, however.
“We do have a plan in place (if Bradford doesn’t re-sign),” Pederson said. “Obviously, I won’t get into who we’re looking at.”
Those possibilities are believed to include Chase Daniel, the backup QB Pederson had in Kansas City, and likely the third of the top trio of quarterbacks in the '16 draft at No. 13 overall, which is shaping up as Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, who is currently rated behind Cal’s Jared Goff and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz in most scouting services.
“In everything you do, you have to have a backup plan, especially when you’re talking about free agency," Roseman said. "There’s more money than there has been in the league the last couple of years. You can’t just say, ‘hey I’m going to go out in free agency and sign this particular player,’ because you’re competing with 31 other teams, so you have to have backup plans and contingency plans."
In a bit of a surprise Pederson also said he expected backup quarterback Mark Sanchez back in 2016. Sanchez has one year remaining on his contract but the prevailing thought is that he doesn't necessarily fit in Pederson's west-coast offensive system.
"(Sanchez is) another veteran guy that you’d like to have at the backup QB position, the coach claimed. "We had a guy in Kansas City that was a backup in Chase Daniel. I was a backup years ago. In today’s football, it helps to have two guys because of the attack style of defenses and the fact that QBs sometimes can’t stay healthy for 16 games. So having a guy like that on your roster gives you that cushion."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen