The Philadelphia Eagles and totally not-GM Howie Roseman have done a lot of work since Chip Kelly was ousted locking up a base of homegrown talent. Already Zach Ertz, Lane Johnson, Vinny Curry and even Brent Celek have gotten new deals. Word is that defensive star Fletcher Cox is next on the docket, though the two sides may not be as close as Eagles fans would hope. But one player at the game's most important position has been conspicuously absent from the news and rumors surrounding Philly since Kelly's departure - quarterback Sam Bradford. And while there's still plenty of time for the Eagles, led by new head coach Doug Pederson and totally not Roseman - or wait, yeah, by Roseman - to make a final decision on Bradford, it sure sounds like Pederson is pretty interested in what the 2016 NFL Draft has to offer at the signal-caller position.
"The thing with going to Kansas City is we needed a quarterback," Pederson told CSN Philly last week. "So the immediate fix is to find the top available free agent. I think in our situation, you may not have to go that route. Therefore, the draft, there are some good quarterbacks in this draft. I'd love to be able to pick one up, develop him and eventually he becomes your guy over time. Several ways to skin a cat, but I think in our situation I think we've got a quarterback that's on our roster right now, if he's our guy, that we can win with."
The most important thing to remember here is that the two options are not mutually exclusive - the Eagles could very well re-sign Bradford to a new deal, whether long-term, short-term, or via the franchise tag, and still take a quarterback high in the draft. Pederson seems to be indicating that the team isn't necessarily in a rush to win next season - fans probably won't be happy to hear that - so a young quarterback could certainly be in the cards.
But it's not the first time Pederson has mentioned a young quarterback. Keeping Bradford with the franchise tag or a short-term deal, as ESPN's John Clayton suggested this week, would surely indicate the team isn't yet sold on his abilities as a franchise quarterback. It makes sense considering Bradford played well at the end of 2015, but struggled through five seasons in St. Louis and most of the early part of his initial Eagle season. And if the team is looking for a bridge to a young guy, Bradford could fill that role pretty perfectly, assuming his price tag isn't exorbitant.
There are plenty of options come April, whether one of the guys likely to go early such as Cal's Jared Goff, Memphis' Paxton Lynch or North Dakota's Carson Wentz, or projects that will probably be available later like Mississippi State's Dak Prescott, Penn State's Christian Hackenburg or Ohio State's Cardale Jones.
What the Eagles choose to do with Bradford when February 16, the first day that NFL teams can designate players with the franchise tag, rolls around, or in the intervening months before the draft in late April, will tell us much about their plans for the position.
For now, all we know is Pederson believes he can win with Bradford, but also may very well have his heart set on a guy like Goff or Lynch at No. 13 in the first round.