A common sense take on Sam Bradford’s trade request

The Eagles starting quarterback reportedly wants out and people are mad. But we shouldn’t be mad at him.

Depending on your sources, Sam Bradford has either requested a trade or demanded one.

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The difference is subtle, but somewhat significant. If Bradford has requested a trade, said appeal makes a lot of sense, given the glut of quarterbacks the Eagles will be faced with by week’s end. If he demanded a trade, it’s more understandable that Eagles fans could be frustrated with him, given he hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire with his play since the trade with the Rams brought him town.

And yet, whether it’s a request or a demand, Bradford is right to want out of Philly, no matter what all the scorching takes tell us.

Sure, starting quarterbacks are supposed to want the pressure on their shoulders, and history has shown that quarterbacks who get challenged by a rookie often rise to the challenge that Bradford seems to be running from, but the circumstances of this request, or demand, are a little bit different than just a guy getting drafted to be the quarterback of the future while the quarterback of the present still has something to prove.

Consider this: You work in a factory making widgets…wait, no. Consider this: You work as a sportswriter brought in by an editor who believes in your ability and wants to make you a cornerstone of the publication. Then, after a year where traffic wasn’t great and, let’s be fair, your work wasn’t winning any Pulitzers, your editor gets fired, and a new editor comes in with a very different content-producing philosophy. And let’s say that shortly after this new editor was brought in, the organization gives you a vote of confidence, and offers you a new contract and publicly states that while the plan is to bring in some younger sportswriters to work with you, your new editor feels you’re the top guy, the lead analyst, the pinnacle of punditry.

Would you sign the contract, or would you try to find a better deal at another publication? Every one of us would sign the deal, especially if there was a hefty signing bonus to go along with that vote of public confidence.

Flash forward 10 days, to when the organization that gave you a public vote of confidence and paid you handsomely decides to replace the hack taking up the desk next to you with the new editor’s favorite writer; a worker-bee type who isn’t going to bring home any national awards, but is going to churn out content, covering anything and everything he’s asked, knowing at some point he’ll get an opportunity to snag the assignments you are accustomed to getting.

And then, on top of all that, let’s say the organization goes from telling you they plan to add a few talented young writers to reorganizing their entire hiring process just to bring in one of the two best young writers in the country coming out of college this year. Imagine that with next to no experience, one of those two young writers will instantly be the face of the publication, the future of the industry and, ostensibly, your replacement before you’re even gone.

It’s easy to imagine that in this industry, but it can be any industry. Replace writing with widgets, or whatever you produce at your job. It can happen in the NFL too.

That’s what happened so Sam Bradford this week, and while we want our football stars to have the mettle of being ready and willing to fight for his job, Bradford knows that no matter how good he plays, next year this won’t be his job. And he knows that the deck is stacked against him this year, too, no matter what the front office and coach says publicly.

Sure, Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson would love to have Bradford lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl before making way for Carson Wentz, but it’s clear, no matter what they say, that the Eagles would be just as happy with Chase Daniel under center until the quarterback of the future is ready to start.

Many people have pointed out that Bradford knew what he was signing up for when he inked his two-year deal. There was no quarterback-of-the-future in his future, not here at least, but he still signed the deal. So this trade request, or demand, is ridiculous given the situation he signed up for. Only, maybe this wasn’t what he signed up for.

Bradford re-signed on a two-year deal with the Eagles on March 1. On March 7, word broke that the Eagles were moving up from the 13th pick in the NFL Draft to the eighth, with the expectation that they would be interested in one of the top two quarterbacks coming out this year if either should fall that far. Still, strong rumors had the Eagles linked to running back Ezekiel Elliott, who would be an enormous compliment to Bradford, not his replacement.

Two days later, March 9, word broke that Daniel was reuniting with Pederson, inking a three-year deal with the Birds, leading to speculation he could become the starter over Bradford. Two days after that, Mark Sanchez was traded to Denver.

And then came the blockbuster.

On April 20th, two days after the Eagles talked about how much they liked Jared Goff and Wentz and announced they intended on taking a quarterback at some point in the draft, perhaps at No. 8, the Birds dealt that eighth pick and a bucketful of other picks to move up to No. 2. They are taking a quarterback not to develop, but to be the face of the franchise.

Again, why wouldn’t Bradford want out? Moreover, why wouldn’t he hold out from voluntary workouts if he’s unhappy with how things changed in a matter of weeks?

We put these moral judgements on NFL players, especially quarterbacks, to be better than the rest of us; to be selfless leaders of the team. Bradford doesn’t really owe us anything. He was traded here and, sure, he re-signed for relatively big bucks, but that deal was made under very different circumstances. The Eagles saying they’re drafting a QB when they hold the 13th pick and a host of other draft choices this year and next is a lot different than saying they’re drafting one after moving up to No. 2 and signing Daniel.

And let’s be honest, who even cares? Bradford is a mediocre quarterback, at best, so if he wants to leave town, let’s let him, roll the dice with Daniel and Wentz and go full-on “the future is now” now.

It would be shocking, no matter what the Eagles say, if Bradford is still on the Eagles roster on Friday. If they can deal him to Denver or San Francisco or the Jets or the, gulp, Patriots, they should. It’s better for the team if they do, and as soon as they pulled the trigger on the deal to one up to No. 2, everyone involved knew it. Now that Bradford’s camp is putting it out there publicly changes nothing. Our opinion of him really situation shouldn’t either.

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