Trade demands are all about leverage. Does the threat of a holdout or a season-long sulk session carry enough weight to force the Eagles to move Sam Bradford, even after they’ve paid him a significant signing bonus? Does it justify Philly perhaps accepting a smaller return, now that Bradford’s gone public in an attempt to reduce their leverage? Here’s a better question: does Bradford really think he’s such a hot commodity that he can not only demand a trade, but dictate where he wants to be traded?
Apparently so. According to NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington, you can cross two teams off the list of the Eagles’ potential trade partners—one of them at Bradford’s insistence.
Bradford’s within his rights to demand a trade, but preemptively disqualifying the Niners, one of the few NFL teams known to be in the market for a quarterback, is some ballsy bargaining.
The Eagles too are reportedly trying to drive a hard bargain. Here’s the story from Mike Klis of 9News in Denver, and given the reporter and the content of the report, you can probably take this as functionally a public statement by John Elway.
In a radio interview yesterday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said he believes the Eagles aren’t willing to move Bradford unless they get more than a second-round pick in return. That does seem like a lot for an average QB, but remember that Bradford is now essentially on an affordable one-year contract, since $11 million has already been paid out as a signing bonus. The Eagles would understandably not be keen on seeing that investment leave town, but logically they shouldn’t worry about it: it’s a sunk cost, it’s gone, and it shouldn’t figure into their thinking going forward. If they do trade Bradford, they would escape his remaining salary—and that’s the way they have to look at it.
(One potential wrench in that line of thinking: Chase Daniel’s contract is incentive-laden, which didn’t seem like a risk when Daniel was projected as a backup. But if Bradford goes, Daniel is in line to get the snaps and starts, which, if anything, could push the Eagles to make the switch to Carson Wentz sooner than planned.)
Bradford doesn’t care about any of this, of course. He’s understandably unhappy that the Eagles signed him to an extension, then immediately went out and made a huge trade to secure his short-term replacement.
“As they were making this plan, it would have been nice if they had told him about it,” said [Bradford’s agent Tom] Condon.
“Basically, our contention is that the team could have used the draft picks on offensive and defensive players for this season, to win this season. If the plan was to build for the future, where does that leave Sam this year?”
The draft is 36 hours away, so if something doesn’t get done soon, it may not happen for a while—or at all. It’s clear that neither Bradford nor the Eagles want to be stuck with each other, but it’s just as clear that both are insistent on any trade being on their preferred terms. Good luck with that.