It’s been a busy, hectic and maybe surprising 24 hours, in which the Minnesota Vikings showed their confidence in their chances this season by trading for Sam Bradford, the Philadelphia Eagles probably revealed they don’t think they can win this season, the Denver Broncos showed that signing Mark Sanchez in the first place was rather useless, and the Dallas Cowboys got the veteran quarterback they wanted.
One question before we review the happenings: Why didn’t the Dallas Cowboys try to trade for Sam Bradford?
- The Cowboys have a starting quarterback who’ll be back this season: Tony Romo. They also believe in Dak Prescott that he can carry the team until Romo returns, and keep them in the playoff race by then, be it in week 8, 10, or who knows, maybe not at all
- Bradford has a deal for next season, and even if the Cowboys can cut him and save $13 million of the salary cap, it still comes with $4 million of dead money. It’s difficult for the Cowboys, always quite close to running out of cap space, taking on such a huge financial commitment, especially without giving up someone they need on the team
- Not sure the Eagles would make a trade with the Cowboys. In division trades for meaningful players don’t happen all that often
Done with that. The Cowboys might actually be in trouble for signing Sanchez before some NFL deadline, putting them in trouble (how much trouble? who knows) and showing there might be just a little bit too much rules. But hey, as often as the NFL gets criticized for a ton of things, they keep making more and more money, and the popularity doesn’t seem to get hurt.
Sanchez isn’t a very good quarterback anymore, certainly not starting material. But the Cowboys know better than anyone that adding a backup who can actually win games for you is crucial. And while Sanchez is something of a walking meme these days mostly for the way things ended on the New York Jets, he’s a backup that can be good enough to help the other parts of the team do well enough to win. Last season it didn’t happen.
On to Minnesota and their interesting trade for Bradford. They threw in a first & fourth round pick to get Bradford. This isn’t just a one-year rental. Bridgewater’s injury could be the kind that takes more than one full season to get back from, and who knows about the long term repercussions. Even if Bridgewater isn’t a quarterback who runs around too much, losing agility and confidence can affect even the least mobile of pocket passers.
The Eagles never wanted Bradford to start for them. They just wanted a place holder while Carson Wentz was developing. They saw enough in Wentz to think he can start for them, which means they think he can make the jump from the FCS to the NFL, and they might not be too worried about winning this season. Chase Daniel is better than what we saw in the preseason, but even if the ideal was giving Wentz a season to sit behind someone, Daniel doesn’t seem to be good enough to do it.
More than anything, this shows how much the Vikings think they can win this season. Adrian Peterson isn’t getting any younger, and just wasting another year with him while paying him so much would have been foolish. The Vikings have enough lower round picks to get back into first if they need it, but more than anything, they trust Mike Zimmer can overcome Bridgewater’s injury and get Minnesota back in the playoffs. Ignoring system and playbook fit for a second, Bradford, when healthy, is probably a better quarterback right now than Bridgewater at this point of his career. Maybe the Vikings will actually be better than last year.