Why Sam Bradford is staying in Philly

Sam Bradford is not happy the Eagles drafted Carson Wentz. What now?

This quarterback saga is going to go one of two ways. Option 1: Bradford pouts about being hired over, sits out mandatory meetings and practices and holds out on training camp until the team trades him. Option 2: The incumbent starter realizes his options are limited, the Eagles are not going to trade him—and they certainly won’t cut him—and he sucks it up and plays.

Bradford is reportedly unhappy because he claims the Eagles didn’t tell him their quarterback-of-the-future draft plans before he re-signed with the team. Bradford inked a two-year deal expecting to be the starter, and taking a quarterback second overall in the draft—and giving up as much as the Eagles did to get Wentz—is a pretty clear indication that Bradford is, at best, a stop-gap solution until Wentz is ready. At worst the guy who expected to start is totally expendable.

On Friday, Sal Paolantonio told ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning that he spoke with Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who told him the Eagles have no idea why Bradford’s camp is saying he wasn’t kept in the loop. Via ProFootballTalk:

“He told me that he told Bradford and Chase Daniel up front that they were going to draft a quarterback, and they were going to try to nurture him for the future, and they expected Bradford and Daniel to be part of that, but that this year Bradford would be the starter,” Paolantonio said. “And they were shocked when they told Bradford that they were going up to No. 2 and they were making the trade and investing five picks, and Bradford’s reaction was one of anger, and he abruptly walked out of the offseason training program.”

Don’t believe all the macho-BS being bandied around town by media about Bradford needing to be a guy who wants to “compete” for the starting job. The only thing Eagles fans need to be concerned about is that when Bradford steps on the field, he’s willing to compete against the other team, not members of his own.

And yet, this all seems pretty stupid on his part at this point.

Bradford is reportedly not answering his phone, or texts, and the team hasn’t been able to talk to him for days. They still say they want him to be the starter this year, though they did field offers as late as Thursday morning, according to reports, to jettison him via trade.

Last season, Chip Kelly dealt then-incumbent Nick Foles and this year’s second-round pick to get Bradford. After a pretty mediocre season, Eagles gave him an $11-million signing bonus and several million more to play with the team for the next two years; money that would go against this year’s salary cap if they were to trade him now.

It stands to reason the team would expect at least a second-rounder back for him, but reports indicated the Eagles were looking for more, perhaps somewhere in the neighborhood of two second round picks. The problem with that was no other team is willing to pay that much for Bradford.

Only, maybe it wasn’t a problem. The Eagles actually want Bradford to start this year so Wentz can develop in practice, not on the field. (Whether you believe them or agree with the philosophy or not is another topic altogether.) Asking for more than anyone is willing to offer shows Bradford’s camp the Eagles were honoring his wish for a trade, but weren’t going to give him away for nothing.

And there were only three teams that could possibly be in the running for his services heading into the draft anyway. With Cleveland signing Robert Griffin III and Houston signing Brock Osweilier this off-season, the only franchises in the market for Bradford were Denver, San Francisco and the New York Jets.

The Jets have already offered Ryan Fitzpatrick a new deal, so why would they give up draft picks and money to sign a guy who isn’t much better than the one they could simply pay a little more to bring back?

San Francisco is a logical place because of Chip Kelly, but they have their own issue dumping Colin Kaepernick, so they can’t exactly take on Bradford’s contract without getting rid of their own disgruntled signal caller first.

That leaves Denver. Or should we say that left Denver. The Broncos traded up in the first round on Thursday to secure the rights to Paxton Lynch, a project pick they hope can be molded into the quarterback of the future while Mark Sanchez plays stop-gap there.

With Denver moving up to get Lynch, the chances they trade for Kaepernick are gone. The chances they sign Fitzpatrick are gone. And the chances they up their offer to the Eagles for Bradford, yep, are gone.

Bradford has nowhere left to go, unless his agent works out a miracle deal with the Jets or unless perhaps a team like the Bills decide to go in a totally different direction. Every other team in the league has a quarterback for next year, and one in almost every case, that quarterback is rated higher than Bradford.

He has no options. He’s going to be on the Eagles, and he’s going to be the Week 1 starter. How long he stays the starter will depend on how he plays, how Wentz develops…

And when the heck he shows up for work.

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