Eagles Wake Up Call: Is A Bradford Extension Realistic?

Rick Osentoski / USA TODAY Sports

Rick Osentoski / USA TODAY Sports

Let’s get to today’s question:

Shortly after the Eagles acquired Sam Bradford,  a report surfaced that they were attempting to rework/extend the quarterback’s deal. Chip Kelly recently acknowledged that the two sides have had contract talks. Safe to say there is interest on the team’s side to get something done.

And Bradford wants to be here by all accounts. His camp did its part to try and prevent a draft-day trade by getting the message out that he would only sign a contract extension in Philly. He has landed in a quarterback-friendly system that has some similarities to the 0ne he excelled in at Oklahoma, and believes he has a real chance to resurrect his career under Kelly and his former coach, Pat Shurmur.

There is mutual interest, so an extension can’t be ruled out. The challenge is finding a contract that makes sense for both sides.

Kelly and the Eagles obviously like Bradford and are optimistic that he will do well, but aren’t blind to the fact that he has a significant injury history and is in many ways still a mystery. Logic suggests that they will want an incentive-laden contract that will pay him like a franchise quarterback if he plays like one, but protects them financially if he can’t stay on the field and/or doesn’t live up to expectations.

While that sounds like a good set-up for the team, what’s in it for Bradford?

“There’s no incentive for Bradford to do anything,” said former agent and contract/salary cap expert Joel Corry a few weeks back. “You can’t really do anything with his deal because Bradford is not going to sign an extension right now. Any extension you offered him wouldn’t be worth his while most likely because he is in a buy-low position right now. Coming off two injury-plagued years, what type of deal could he get?”

Bradford is in the final year of his rookie contract and is scheduled to make just a shade under $13 million. Might he be enticed by the additional security (read: more guaranteed money) that an extension would offer, especially when you consider his injury history?

“Not after making 65 million over the past five years in St. Louis. He can afford to gamble on himself,” said Corry.

“It will be a no-brainer for him to turn it down. He’ll bet on himself. If he can perform like [Mark] Sanchez did for the most part or Nick Foles in the system, staying healthy, he sets himself up to reap a huge contract next year from the Eagles or somebody else.”

We were reminded Monday just how much leverage quarterbacks possess in this QB-hungry league when the Dolphins inked Ryan Tannehill to a new six-year, $96 million deal (or 4-year, $77 million extension) that reportedly includes upwards of $45 million in guarantees. Tannehill completed 66 percent of his throws for 4,045 yards with 27 touchdowns t0 12 interceptions for the 8-8 Dolphins last season.

What type of pay day might Bradford command should he take off under Kelly? Only one way to find out.


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Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins appeared on CSN Philly to give his thoughts on Kelly’s offseason maneuvers:

“No one player is bigger than the team, and that’s me included,” Jenkins said Saturday at Jahri Evans’ youth football camp. “Every move he makes is to make the team better, so I can live with any decision that he makes because I know that’s where it comes from.

“Even if down the road that ended up being me, I understand that I’m not bigger than the team and nobody is necessarily safe.”

The Maxwell signing created a buzz throughout the city as a solution to the Eagles’ secondary woes. But Jenkins believes one addition has flown under the radar: defensive backs coach Cory Undlin.

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz believes the 2015 Philadelphia Eagles will be improved over the 2014 version:

The Eagles feel more and more like Chip Kelly’s team.

He’s not getting rid of Reid guys for the heck of it. Kelly is looking for players who can thrive in his systems. He gave Foles a chance. It just didn’t work. Kelly appreciated Shady McCoy’s big numbers, but hated the amount of negative runs. Sometimes you have to give a player a chance to see how he’ll do. Guys like Brent Celek and Fletcher Cox have been great fits in the new systems.

I think the Eagles are better. But they are still flawed, probably too flawed to be a legitimate title contender. Bradford is the X-factor. If he gets hurt or is simply so-so, this team will have some issues. If Bradford somehow turns out to be a perfect fit and thrives in the new system…who knows. In a fantasy world, he turns out to be Kurt Warner of 1999 or Drew Brees of 2006.


We’ll take a look at what the national media are saying about the Eagles.