After a whirlwind first day of NFL Free Agency yesterday the Bills have made the trades for LeSean McCoy and Matt Cassell official, signed Jerome Felton, and are pursuing Charles Clay. So naturally I wanted to know more of what was going on, so I tuned into the local sports talk radio station to hear the news of what’s going on. Then I heard the trade of Nick Foles for Sam Bradford. Then Schopp and Bulldog went into classic “what’s best for the team” mode. Now I understand that these guys have to take phone calls, and some of the callers make ridiculous claims, but don’t take that many phone calls and you won’t have to worry about putting up with dumb phone calls.
Anyway, Schopp and Bulldog were waxing poetically about how Sam Bradford was available and the Bills didn’t make a move on him. They went as far as to suggest that the Bills could have traded Kiko Alonso for Nick Foles, then trade Foles for Bradford and the franchise would finally have a quarterback and all the problems would be solved! My question is when did Sam Bradford become a franchise savior? And, more importantly, why would you want a quarterback who has a well documented history of not being able to maintain his level of play? We have that in EJ Manuel. Not to mention two severe knee injuries! Yet all the talk is about how the Bills missed the opportunity to get their quarterback, or if the Bills had their first round pick this year then that could have been dealt for Bradford.
So my question to everyone is, what is Sam Bradford’s appeal? I mean is he any better than EJ Manuel? I know I’m in the minority, but I feel EJ Manuel can be successful with the Bills! Now it’s going to take EJ showing much more growth and ability in games than last season, but if this new offensive philosophy (the one that made Colin Kaepernick look like a starting quarterback) can make it easier for EJ to use his legs to roll out of the pocket and his arm to get downfield, all EJ has to do is play within himself, and the Bills will be just fine. But don’t get me wrong, this is EJ’s last chance. Year 3 of any young QB’s career is make or break. Manuel has to take the leap THIS season, if not then we must move on. But to think that Sam Bradford is the answer, to me is asinine.
Marc Sessler of NFL.com wrote in his article about the Foles-Bradford trade: “It’s an especially bold move by the Eagles coach, who will now pivot his star-stripped offense around a signal-caller who has yet to live up to his lofty draft pedigree. Injuries have limited Bradford to just seven starts over the past two seasons. Deeper questions, though, hover around the quarterback’s larger body of work, with Bradford failing to grow into anything resembling a top passer over the past five seasons.” The key points of this paragraph to me are “seven starts over the past two seasons” and “failing to grow into anything resembling a top passer over the past five seasons.”
So how the hell is Sam Bradford the answer for the Bills at quarterback!? I refuse to believe that just because Bradford was on the Rams he wasn’t able to succeed. If QB is so important then a good one is supposed to cover up a teams deficiencies. Andrew Luck being an example, he covered up a terrible defense and a nonexistent running game all the way to the AFC Championship game! I understand Luck is better and has better pieces around him but you see my point?
So what is the excuse for Bradford failing? If injuries isn’t an excuse then what is it? He’s so good but has nothing around him so it’s not his fault? No, it’s because Bradford isn’t as good as his number 1 overall selection indicates (let’s not forget he didn’t play his last season in college because of a shoulder injury).
The Bills may need a QB, they may not. But I can’t give up on EJ until he plays a full season. Manuel has played only 14 career games, 14! He was also playing under a coach that forced his offensive coordinator to scale back the offense. Now you want to consider a borderline 1st overall bust QB, with a 22-49 career record, 2 knee surgeries, and was only in a playoff chase once (in his rookie year) that came down to the final game of that season, which he lost. And this makes him, as Bulldog says “more accomplished than Nick Foles”.
Another point no one has brought up, which may or may not be a big deal, is that Bradford has played most of his games in a dome. Will he have the arm strength to whip the ball around in the wind and the snow? Will his surgically repaired knees be able to hold up against slippery field conditions? Could he out-duel Tom Brady in a freaking snow storm? Well, that last one probably not, but those other two? Probably not.
This is all just talk of a desperate fan base to win and break a 15 year playoff drought. If you asked me to pick between an injury prone quarterback who has never seen the playoffs and EJ Manuel, I’d take my chances with EJ. When you are trying to get a Bradford, Kaepernick, Foles, Cousins, or whomever, it starts to show you think that EJ was a wasted pick and you have already given up. A veteran guy like Matt Cassell won’t take the starting job (if he does EJ deserves to be benched) he’s just here to provide some veteran stability at the position and if needed can be called upon to manage a couple games, NOT SAVE THE FRANCHISE. So I hope Bradford enjoys Philly because with all the ballsy moves the Bills are making and all the money being thrown around I think the Bills are better off without him.