When Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Sam Bradford was drafted by the St. Louis Rams with the #1 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, people were hopeful that he would help lead the franchise out of the rut they were in since the 2005 season.
Unfortunately, that was not to be, and now Bradford’s time in St. Louis has ended.
On Tuesday, during which NFL Free Agency officially began, the Rams announced they have traded Bradford to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Nick Foles. In addition, the Eagles acquire a 5th round draft pick in 2015 from the Rams. St. Louis, in addition to Foles, will receive the Eagles’ 4th rd pick in 2015 and 2nd rd pick in 2016.
“Throughout his five years with the Rams, Sam has been a consummate professional,” Rams Owner E. Stanley Kroenke said in an official statement. “We thank Sam for his dedication to our team and community and wish him and his family the best moving forward.”
In his five year NFL career, the 27-year old Bradford has shown he can be a very productive quarterback. Consistency, however, has been an issue. During the 2010 season (his rookie year), Bradford actually set an NFL for most completions by a rookie (354) and also set a record for most consecutive passes without an interception (169). With his help, the Rams (who finished a dismal 1-15 the year before) finished 7-9 and were a game away from winning the NFC West, losing a week 17 battle against the Seahawks with the division title on the line.
The second year, however, saw a massive drop in overall performance. The Rams finished 2-14, with Bradford only able to play 10 games due to injury. He threw six touchdowns and six interceptions in the 2011 season, as well as 2164 yards.
During the next three years, the Rams (now led by Jeff Fisher) finished 7-8-1, 7-9, and 6-10 respectively, but still failed to reach the playoffs. It was during the 2012 season Bradford had his best statistical season, throwing for 3,702 yards, 21 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions. He also had an 82.6 passer rating to go along with a 59.5 completion percentage.
While statistically, 2012 was his best year, 2013 was looking to be even better. Heading into week seven, Bradford had a 14-4 TD:INT ratio. But against the Carolina Panthers, while trying to go out of bounds on a scramble, Bradford tore his left ACL, and ending his season.
He made great strides in trying to be ready for the 2014 season. But for the second year in a row, Bradford tore his ACL. It was the same one he tore in 2013, and thus, his season was over before it even started. In fact, he was set to make $13 million in 2015 as part of a six-year, $78 million deal with a reported $50 million in guaranteed money.
In 49 career games, Bradford has thrown 59 TD’s and 38 INT’s, 11,065 yards, and a 79.3 rating. However, he has missed 25 games during the last two seasons due to injury, and is a high risk quarterback to have, especially financially.
Then, you have Nick Foles. Interesting fact is that Foles has actually won three fewer games than Bradford in 21 less starts. The 88th pick (3rd round) in the 2012 draft, Foles was scheduled to make his NFL debut during a Monday Night Football match-up during week nine against the Saints. That debut was later moved by head coach Andy Reid to the next week after an injury to Michael Vick.
His 2012 rookie season was not very strong, and competition from Vick didn’t help, but it was the following season that Foles had his breakout season. Foles threw 27 touchdowns and a mere two interceptions, a 119.2 QB rating, 2,891 passing yards, and a 64.0% completion percentage.
But much like Bradford, Foles had a season-ending injury in 2014, when he broke his collarbone in week eight, during which Mark Sanchez took over at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Up until his injury, the Eagles were 6-2 (already matching the Rams total 2014 win total).
The Rams, who released veteran lineman Jake Long and Scott Wells on Monday, aimed to restructure Bradford’s high-priced contract, to no avail, and instead were able to work a deal with Philadelphia.
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has been busy this offseason, and will now have a new quarterback and running back to start the 2015 season (LeSean McCoy was traded to the Buffalo Bills).
Trading Bradford for Foles has been in discussion since late January 2015, after Fisher had concluded a press-conference, closing the Rams’ season. However, both Fisher and Rams’ general manager Les Snead had insisted Bradford would be their starting quarterback in 2015.
By trading away Sam Bradford, the Rams save $12.985 million in salary cap room, a big improvement for a team that’s struggled in recent years to maintain a good amount of cap.
It’s no secret that the “Sam Bradford era” was filled with highs and lows. Now, Nick Foles takes the reigns at quarterback for a team with the talent to win and fan-base that has been waiting over a decade to see them prove it.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)