The NFL world was rocked this week by the unexpected news that Sam Bradford had been traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Minnesota Vikings. We don't ever see a team trade away their starting QB - even if he was just the starter until Carson Wentz was ready. It was a true blockbuster, and a move about which everyone has an opinion. Were the Vikings too desperate? Did they improve themselves? What does it all mean for the Eagles? Let's look at some of the biggest questions coming out of this deal as it relates to bettors:
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Good spot for him: You don't have to like or respect the career that Bradford has had (it hasn't been as bad as people think, but more on that later). Unquestionably, though, this is the best spot for his skills that he has been in. In St. Louis he was part of a team that was trying to find their way and get back on track, and things never really came together. In Philadelphia Chip Kelly did a poor job of crafting a cohesive offense despite his seemingly strong vision and ridiculous levels of control, and Bradford wasn't a great fit. Here he steps into a well-built offense that was expected to lead the team into the playoffs under the guidance of Teddy Bridgewater. Bradford hasn't enjoyed a running game like this, nor a stable of receivers this strong. If Bradford can't make it here then he won't make it anywhere.
He's going to be thrilled to be out of Philly: His time with the Eagles was a circus. Kelly was the captain of a sinking ship. This year they signed two quarterbacks to huge contracts and then drafted the QB of the future. It was ridiculous. Bradford was not happy there - he demanded a trade and even briefly threatened retirement - and despite winning the starting job he knew he wasn't in a good place. Now he's with a team that clearly wants and needs him, he doesn't have anyone looking over his shoulder or breathing down his neck all season, and he has a situation that suits his skillset. Minnesota's staff was reportedly surprised how quickly Bradford showed up at their facility and how hungry he was to get started. That's a good sign.
Public perception is too negative: People think they sound smart when they make fun of Bradford. In the perception of casual football fans, he's been a flop. That's ridiculous. He was Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010 and was solid in a full season in 2012. Even last year in a mess of a situation he put up some nice numbers - 3,725 yards passing in 14 starts is 266 per game, and seven yards per attempt is certainly solid. He throws too many picks, but he is still a well above average quarterback - and one who still has plenty of upside in the right situation. You can like or dislike this trade all you like, but just don't make the mistake of assuming that it is a bad deal because he can't play.
That knee, though: The Vikings are in the situation they are because of a knee that self-destructed. Bradford's knee has shredded itself not once but twice. His knee health was not a factor last year, but Bridgewater showed us that any player is one step away from disaster, and Bradford's chances are higher than a random guy given his history. I hated the QB situation for the Vikings before the trade. I'd hate it even more if Bradford went down and Shaun Hill was an emergency replacement.
Schedule: The schedule certainly doesn't do any favors to Bradford. The opener against the Titans could certainly be tougher, though it does mean that they open on the road. Between then and the bye after Week 5, though, they play four straight potential playoff teams - Green Bay, at Carolina, New York Giants, at Houston. It's a chance for Bradford to amass a statement win or two if things are going well, but it means that there is very little room to breathe when it comes to adapting and adjusting to the new team and new reality. And circle the game after the bye week - Bradford and company head to Philadelphia in a game in which Bradford shouldn't lack for motivation.
Philly is waving the towel: To this point we have focused on the Vikings and Bradford, but we have to mention the Eagles if only briefly. Trading away your starting QB is a clear signal that winning the Super Bowl isn't your major priority this year. Naming a rookie who was injured through much of the preseason as your opening-day starter is, besides insane, a very obvious statement that winning now means nothing to you. I can't fault the Bradford trade at all - might as well extract a pretty handsome return from an asset you clearly weren't married to long term - but don't pretend for a second that this move makes them even slightly better in the short term. This is a much worse team now than they were pre-trade.
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