Philadelphia Eagles Shouldn't Worry About Cost of Re-Signing Sam Bradford

Andrew KulpContributor IDecember 18, 2015

Philadelphia Eagles’ Chip Kelly, left, and Sam Bradford talk during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Michael Perez/Associated Press

The Philadelphia Eagles have a 5-1 record in the last six games Sam Bradford has started and finished and are 6-2 in the last eight.

Assuming the veteran signal-caller continues to play as well as he has, continues to improve and continues guiding this team to victories, it's safe to say the organization will try to re-sign the impending free agent in the offseason.

Yet this is actually a scary thought in many ways because of the kind of money quarterbacks command.

Bradford is already earning $13 million this season, the final year of his rookie contract, which some felt was much too high to begin with. A new deal could pay him $18 million, $19 million, upwards of $20 million per season, based on what other quarterbacks have signed for recently.

Having said all of that, the huge dollar figures are not something the Eagles should be overly concerned with. If Bradford is worth re-signing, they should just be glad they have found a quarterback.

Bradford's Last 4 Games
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Nobody is suggesting the Eagles should get locked into some long-term contract with Bradford that has no outs for the franchise. The trepidation is that Bradford's injury history and rather blah body of work could mean the team would commit and be stuck with a hurt or mediocre quarterback for years to come.

But many of the recent deals that have been signed by midtier quarterbacks have outs built in. There's no reason the Eagles should find themselves buried beneath a huge contract they can't get out from under within two or three years.

That's just not how NFL contracts are structured for all but the elite players.

Michael Perez/Associated Press

No, this is all about the cash and how much of it Bradford deserves—and he merits such a huge lump sum. Think about what the Eagles could do if they stashed that money and tried to draft a quarterback instead.

That only works if Philadelphia winds up with a decent QB. Saving that money is pointless if the Eagles don't have a field general to lead the team. What's the point of getting hung up over $20 million when the roster may still be lacking the most important piece after everything is said and done?

Is Bradford a franchise quarterback? Is he capable of guiding the Eagles to a Super Bowl?

Nobody knows at this point, but he's increasingly emerging as their best option as he steadily improves week after week. At the very least, there isn't a dollar amount that should prevent the organization from finding out.

That is, as long as Bradford is reasonable.

We already know the Eagles want Bradford back. Head coach and personnel czar Chip Kelly said as much this week, admitting he wouldn't have traded for the quarterback if he intended for him to be with Philadelphia for only one season.

It's very much a question of whether Bradford wants to stay. The Eagles' offense is not what many imagined it would be, with an inconsistent offensive line and lack of downfield threats in the passing attack. If Bradford reaches free agency and scopes out a better situation, not to mention finds a team willing to offer him a richer, more ironclad contract, he very well could escape.

Of course, the Eagles could also use the franchise or transition tags, either one of which would all but ensure Bradford's return to Philly. The argument there, again, is money and whether Bradford is worth a salary that's equal to the average of the five or 10 highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL.

It will be interesting to see what happens, but Bradford might be worth the risk. As far as the money is concerned, it's almost useless without a quarterback anyway.

 

All financials via Spotrac. All quotes obtained by author.