Sam Bradford's season-ending ACL injury will likely force the St. Louis Rams to trade for a quarterback. The list of potential candidates could include Philadelphia Eagles backup Mark Sanchez, Washington Redskins backup Kirk Cousins and New England Patriots backup Ryan Mallet.
A legal hit Saturday night from Cleveland Browns defensive end Armonty Bryant ended Bradford's season. An MRI revealed Bradford re-tore his left ACL, which will force him to undergo reconstructive surgery for the second time in less than a year.
"It's just highly unusual," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said, via ESPN. "There's a 1-in-100 chance that something like that would happen. It wasn't a high impact; ACL injuries, they are all different. This was just kind of a hyperextension with the impact coming from the outside. The knee was locked, and something has to give. Unfortunately the ACL gave."
Bradford has proven to be injury prone, and it's likely the Rams will release him in the offseason. That still leaves St. Louis with a question at quarterback for this season. Fisher announced veteran backup Shaun Hill would take over the starting duties, but he also didn't rule out bringing in a new quarterback before the regular season begins.
"It makes no sense to jump and react right now and try to fill the hole, whatever it costs," Fisher said. "We're going to take our time and evaluate this. There's going to be some quarterbacks that are getting released, and there may or may not be some quarterbacks that have trade value. We just don't know. It's way too soon."
Hill isn't a starting-caliber signal caller, which will likely have the Rams eying Sanchez, Cousins and Mallet as potential replacements. All three quarterbacks have played well during the preseason: Sanchez 25-of-31, 281 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception; Cousins 35-of-54, 370 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception; and Mallett 14-of-26, 161 yards, one touchdown.
It's uncertain whether Washington would consider trading Cousins, but Eagles coach Chip Kelly said he would part with Sanchez for the right offer, and New England reportedly will sideline Mallet for the final preseason game to keep him healthy for a potential trade.
Other possible quarterback options include Jets backups Michael Vick, a viable starter with a team-friendly contract, or Matt Simms, or if really desperate, free agent Tim Tebow.