After a major trade, the Eagles now pick second in the 2016 NFL Draft. They are likely to take a quarterback. This has put the long-term future of incumbent starter Sam Bradford in doubt. Bradford just re-signed with the Eagles weeks ago, but there are rumors he wants to be traded. Would the Jets make sense as a suitor?
Why it would make sense
Reason number one is the Jets need a starting quarterback. We are at the NFL Draft, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is still a free agent. This team probably does not want to go into 2016 with Geno Smith and Bryce Petty as the only quarterbacks on the roster. In Bradford, the Jets would get a player with 63 starts under his belt.
As PFF noted, two of Bradford's best attributes are short passing to move the chains and throwing under pressure. The short passing would be an asset in Chan Gailey's system, and the ability to throw under pressure would help considering how dicey the offensive line is.
Since the Eagles would have to eat dead money, his 2016 salary would be an affordable $7 million. That is around the figure the Jets want to give Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Why it wouldn't make sense
While Bradford has some real attributes, he also has some notable weaknesses. He is notorious not just for poor downfield passing but also a refusal to even take shots down the field. Even if a quarterback is not an effective deep passer, just merely testing a defense down the field has some value. It forces the defense to defend the entire field at at least respect the deep ball. Even if the odds of a completion are unlikely, the damage one completion can do is potentially lethal.
With that in mind, Bradford cannot be viewed as anything more than a game manager. There also is not a lot of reason for optimism he will change. He has been in the league for six years on two teams with three offensive coordinators. With this in mind, why would the Jets part with a Draft pick in a trade when there are game manager types, including Fitzpatrick, who would not cost Draft pick compensation? The Jets only have six picks to begin with. Even if they gave up a 2017 pick, is it wise to keep on giving up picks for rentals?
And Bradford would be a rental. His 2017 cost would be a $13 million base salary on top of a $4 million roster bonus. That is the type of deal the team has avoided giving Fitzpatrick. Why give it to Bradford? Sure, the Jets could cut him, but again, why give up a pick for a one year journeyman rental when there are other options available?
Bradford's durability is also a major question mark. He has only played 16 games twice in six NFL seasons. And he only played three games in his final college season. That is the other, less appealing aspect of matching him with the patchwork Jets offensive line.
I think the argument to not pursue a trade is stronger. When there are virtually identical options available that will not cost a pick, why pursue Bradford?