Mailbag: What Happens With Bradford If He Excels?

Plus: Is Josh Huff on the bubble to possibly not make the 53-man roster?

Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)

Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)

For your mailbag question to be considered, complete the form at the bottom of this post.

The Eagles are hoping Bradford starts all 16 games so they can compete for a division title and trade him for a good pick, you keep saying this, but what happens if Sam leads us to the nfc championship game, and lose but not his fault, do we still trade him? -RockyMan63

While this is an unlikely scenario, it is an interesting question to consider. You can debate whether the Eagles should’ve made the moves they did to put Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel and Carson Wentz on the roster together, but the underlying philosophy makes sense: Do whatever it takes to get a franchise quarterback.

If Bradford plays extremely well and looks like the perfect fit for Doug Pederson, they may have achieved that goal. But how do they keep Bradford? It’s hard to imagine a scenario where they’re willing to trade Wentz away and stick with an injury-prone quarterback longterm instead. Even if they only want to keep him for another season, Bradford has some leverage to get a trade worked out.

Bradford’s cap hit next season would be $22.5 million, ranking fourth in the NFL per Spotrac, and he wouldn’t renegotiate his contract unless he gets a longterm deal. The Eagles are currently projected to be about $11 million over the salary cap next season because of how much money they’ve given out this offseason, but there are a few options to save a lot of money.

Jason Peters has the second-biggest cap hit next season for the Eagles behind Bradford, and the team would save $9.2 million by cutting him. However, that’d only happen if he has trouble staying on the field again.

They could also trade Connor Barwin to save $7.75 million, or move Brandon Graham to save $5.5 million. Jason Kelce‘s savings number against the 2017 cap would be $3.8 million if he’s cut, while Ryan Mathews‘ is $4 million.

Or, in the most likely scenario, the Eagles could cut Bradford and save $13 million, or trade him and save $17 million against the 2017 cap, according to Over the Cap. In other words: Between the Eagles’ financial situation, the presence of Wentz and Bradford’s injury history, it’s difficult to see him staying in Philadelphia, even if he plays well this year.

I expect Josh Huff to make the roster this year, but I do think he needs to significantly improve his production this year if he wants to remain an Eagle after 2016. In his first two seasons, Huff totaled 35 catches for 410 yards, although his camp would argue he needs more opportunities than he’s gotten.

Part of the reason I think Huff is safe, even if he isn’t impressive during training camp or preseason, is the lack of depth you mentioned. Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor are locks to make the team, and free-agent signings Chris Givens and Rueben Randle are expected to make it, but who else would you take over Huff?

Perhaps an undrafted free agent like Cayleb Jones or Hunter Sharp makes a good case to be on the 53-man, but the question for Huff has more to do with whether he can get on the field, not whether he’s on the team.