Eagles fans are usually divided on one or two big things each year, and one of those things this year is Sam Bradford. After a rocky start to the season, Bradford has clearly warmed up to the Eagles offense, and is playing rather well. Despite that, a lot of Eagles fans don’t want him back next year. So let’s look at if Bradford should be back again, and if not, who would be his replacement.
Bradford was clearly rusty to start the season, passing for 59 completions on 89 attempts (66%), 560 yards, 2 TD’s, and 4 INT’s. He got a lot of hate during that time, and a lot of it still lingers. But what about since then? In games he has started since week 3, Bradford has complied a 6-3 record. Those include wins against the Cowboys and the Giants, arguably the best QB in NFL history, and 2 other AFC East teams. Even in his losses, Bradford has played well. He threw for 3 TD’s against the Skins, and probably would have led the Eagles to a win against the Dolphins is he hadn’t been injured. His only bad game was against one of the best teams in the NFL, and a great defense. I also personally believe that we would have beaten both the Lions and the Bucs had he been playing. Not only has Bradford been playing well, becoming the quick, accurate passer Chip traded for, he’s also become a leader. He’s been vocal and supportive, getting his teammates ready to play. He’s also not gotten much help from his receivers, as they’ve had 30 drops. Not good. But overall, Sam Bradford appears to be the QB the Philly has needed. They could easily make the playoffs this year, and if they draft right next year, you’re looking at a dangerous team. As to why people don’t like him, I’m not sure. A common opinion appears to be the idea that he doesn’t fit into Chip’s system, which is not true in the slightest. It’s time to jump on the Bradford train ladies and gentlemen, because the Eagles really should extend Bradford, at least for a few seasons.
For arguments sake, lets look at a few QB’s who the Eagles could draft or trade for to replace Bradford. This year’s draft stock is deep, but there aren’t any QB’s clearly above the rest, and that makes analysis hard. Both Paxton Lynch and Jared Goff will most likely be gone by the time the Eagles pick, which leaves an assortment of QB’s like Connor Cook, Christian Hackenberg, or Trevone Boykin. None of these QB’s strike me as an immediate replacement that could succeed his first season. One prospect who should definitely be in this conversation is UNC QB Marquise Williams, who reminds me a lot of both Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick. Williams will probably go later in the draft, and need time to develop into his potential. Honestly there’s not many QB’s who worth going after in the free agency, or through trade, so that’s pretty much out.
All the signs currently point to Sam Bradford staying around, so what’s our best option? Personally, I would love to see Chip draft Marquise Williams, and sign Bradford to a two-year extension. This would allow Williams to develop, and give the Eagles a reliable QB for the foreseeable future. Whatever happens, expect Sam Bradford to be starting next year, unless he decides he wants to leave.