What They’re Saying About the Eagles
There’s still plenty of buzz about the Eagles, their draft, and of course, their quarterback situation. Here’s a roundup of what the national media — plus a couple of local writers — are saying.
The Eagles moved down a spot in NFL.com’s power rankings to 25th after the draft.
Sam Bradford apparently still wants to be traded. Whoopty-doo. This is how that situation will play out: The Eagles will hold on to him, unless they are completely blown away by a trade offer, which is going to come from … where, exactly? Which team needs Bradford that badly? Per Jay Glazer, a former colleague at Fox, Philly likes the idea of a “pissed-off” Bradford. Meanwhile, Chase Daniel — who worked with new coach Doug Pederson in Kansas City the last three seasons and, given the opportunity, might prove to be as good as Bradford — is pulling farther ahead. Everyone I’ve spoken with is high on No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz. They think he merely needs time. All the more reason to hold on to Bradford for a year.
The Eagles’ strategy to manage their quarterbacks is a “phony promise,” says the Inquirer’s Mike Sielski.
As far as Bradford’s concerned, though, the room’s atmosphere will be great only if he has a genuine opportunity to be the Eagles’ No. 1 quarterback for a while. And he doesn’t, not really. Not only does the stockpile of resources that the Eagles relinquished for Wentz increase the pressure on the team to play him (and on him to play well), but giving Bradford a full season as the starter would be an anomaly in the modern NFL. It would require a measure of patience that the Eagles could afford in 1999 but that most teams don’t display anymore.
Let’s start with that 17-year-old template. The Eagles had gone 3-13 in 1998, earning the No. 2 pick in the ’99 draft on merit, and the quarterback position was the greatest weakness of a bad football team. So they signed Pederson and drafted McNabb, and new coach Andy Reid eased in McNabb, giving him snaps in five games before finally starting him in Week 10. Reid could take that tack largely because, unlike Bradford, Pederson had not signed with the expectation that he himself might emerge as the Eagles’ definitive answer at quarterback. He would play until Reid decided it was time for McNabb to play, and even a 10-week wait was too long for much of the team’s fan base. Ask Reid sometime about his daily walk from his car to his office at Veterans Stadium and what people would scream at him about Pederson along the way.
The MMQB’s Peter King isn’t a fan of how Sam Bradford has acted lately.
I’ve written highly of Sam Bradford multiple times in this space (most recently, here). But even as his (reluctant) biggest cheerleader, and someone who thinks Bradford is still a quality starting quarterback, I am going to quietly slink out of his corner right… now.
So Bradford doesn’t like the fact that the Eagles invested elsewhere for their quarterback of the future. Given his track record, I don’t know how he could blame them. And you’d like to think that he would be a pro and maybe even be motivated to have a career year, a la Drew Brees after the Chargers drafted Philip Rivers, instead of demanding a trade and reportedly blocking that trade to some of the very few teams that might be interested.
But all that aside, the Eagles signed him to a heavily front-loaded two-year deal just two months ago. How could any rational human being look at that contract and think, Yup, they’ve invested in me for the long haul. Either Bradford didn’t look at the contract he signed, or he has some inside info about an impending apocalypse in 2018, leading him to believe that a maybe-two-year deal is a long-term commitment.
With the NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell resets the trade market.
Nothing about the Bradford situation feels tenable or helpful to either side. The Eagles would likely take back the Bradford deal if they could, and while he’s probably a better short-term option than Daniel, the Eagles would do well to get Bradford’s salary off their cap for 2017. They already owe $164.1 million on their cap next year without re-signing defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, and while $17 million would come off the cap if Bradford moves on, they could get that figure up to $22.5 million if they moved on from Bradford this year via trade.
The only problem, strangely, is that the Eagles don’t want to deal Bradford. General manager Howie Roseman very clearly said that Bradford would remain the team’s starter in the immediate aftermath of the Browns trade, and while that could have been a smokescreen to try to ensure the best possible compensation in a trade, the Eagles reportedly rebuffed all trade offers for their nominal starter during the draft. So Bradford doesn’t want to be there, the fans don’t want him there and other teams want him elsewhere, but Philly is keeping him anyway.
The Eagles may end up finding that there isn’t a common ground that makes sense for a trade. It may not be worth it for them to trade Bradford unless they get a Day 2 pick, and with the variety of quarterbacks available on the market (as you’ll see in a moment), it’s hard to justify making that sort of deal when there are similarly-skilled passers available who don’t require any draft pick compensation attached (Ryan Fitzpatrick, for example) or who earn lower salaries (such as Nick Foles). They’ve consistently overvalued Bradford over the past 14 months, so it’s no surprise that they continue to do so now.
One of Eagles’ reasons for trading up isn’t valid, writes David Murphy of the Daily News.
The line of argument goes something like this: In addition to the usual uncertainty that a handful of teams face at quarterback, a slew of longtime fixtures at the position are in the stage of their careers where any season could be their last. Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Tony Romo are battling age and/or injury, while Eli Manning and Philip Rivers are entering their 35-year-old seasons and Ben Roethlisberger will play at 34. For 12 years, none of those teams has had a thought of looking for a franchise quarterback. With all of them potentially looking in the near future, it made sense for the Eagles to pull the trigger now, rather than try to compete in a saturated marketplace two or three years down the road.
Not with regard to his conclusion, though I’m skeptical there, too. (Think about it: most drafts are lucky to have one or two guys who pan out . . . is it really any harder to be one of 15 teams vying for that commodity instead of one of 10?). I was more curious about the premise. Do the next three or four years really figure to be any different from any other time teams have attempted to find a franchise quarterback?
In other words, the Redskins could have justified their trade up for Griffin the same way Roseman has. At the time, 15 other teams seemed like pretty good bets to be looking for quarterbacks within the next three years. In the end, 16 teams ended up making major moves for a quarterback in our given window. In fact, only 17 quarterbacks who started at least eight games in the 2012 season were starting for the same team in 2015. Fifteen teams changed quarterbacks after the 2012 draft, when the Redskins traded up for Griffin. Only 12 starters from 2011 were still with the same team in 2015.
Jordan Plocher of Pro Football Focus thinks it’d be good for Carson Wentz to sit out a year.
It seems likely that the Eagles will sit Wentz for a year while a veteran – likely Sam Bradford or Chase Daniel — starts. Wentz has all of the physical tools of a starting NFL quarterback, and that is where his future lies. However, the jump from FCS quarterback to starting NFL quarterback is understandably large, so a year watching and learning should be just what Wentz needs.
The Eagles’ best bargain pick was defensive back Jalen Mills in the seventh round, according to NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread.
Versatility is Mills’ biggest asset — he can play cornerback, safety, nickelback, or just about any role he’s asked. Though most of his experience is at safety, he showed well at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in cornerback drills. In LSU, he also comes from a school known for producing plenty of pro defensive backs. Mills gave serious thought to coming out early as a junior in the 2015 draft. With the Eagles allowing 267 yards per game through the air last year, 28th in the NFL, Mills will get every chance to find a role.
Oregon running back/wide receiver Byron Marshall is one of the best undrafted free agent signings, says Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus.
The Oregon offense has a way of manufacturing production, so it can be tough to identify the real talent from the system and those that are more a product of the scheme. Byron Marshall is the former. A player that had a 1,000-yard rushing season and then became a receiver and notched a 1,000 receiving season, Marshall could be a new Darren Sproles for the Eagles, right around the time their current Darren Sproles is approaching the end of his career. Marshall has run and receiving skills, but will also block with force on the edge and make his presence felt in all aspects of the game.