By: Addison Willmon
Sam Bradford, who was drafted first overall by the then St. Louis Rams in 2010 and received the
largest rookie contract ever at the time, is now the starting quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals.
He was signed to a one-year contract worth $20 million. That is a lot of money for someone who
is known to get hurt early and often.
It is widely accepted that quarterback is the single most important position on a football team. In
fact, they can sometimes singlehandedly carry an entire offense (see Seattle Seahawks). For a
quarterback to be that impactful however, they must be healthy. Sam Bradford has not exactly
been consistent in that regard. Since he was drafted, Bradford has missed:
– 6 games in 2011
– 9 games in 2013
– All of 2014
– 2 games in 2015
– 1 game in 2016
– 14 games in 2017
Because of these injuries, Bradford’s production has been well below average. That leaves this
question: why does Sam Bradford keep getting these contracts?
He has shown flashes of tremendous talent and consistently plays average or above average
when he is healthy. He even had a breakout year in 2016, where he threw 20 touchdowns and
only 5 interceptions. He also had a career high 71.6% completion percentage, which was the
NFL record for only a year before New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees surpassed it in
The supply for good young quarterbacks has not been able to meet the demand either. There are
several teams in 2018 that are still trying to find their franchise quarterback or require a bridge
quarterback until their recently drafted players are ready to take the field. The Arizona Cardinals
are one such team. This past draft, the Cardinals drafted Josh Rosen 10 th overall to be the future
face of their franchise after the retirement of Carson Palmer. Rookie quarterbacks often do not
perform well when thrown to the fire however. It requires a varying amount of time for players
to transition from college football to the National Football League, and a veteran quarterback
with proven talent is often the answer when looking for a mentor; someone to show a rookie the
ropes. Sam Bradford is perfectly suited for this exact situation.
Bradford was put in a similar position in 2015. The Philadelphia Eagles were in need of a
starting-caliber quarterback to compete in their division. To fill that void, the Eagles signed
Bradford before drafting future superstar Carson Wentz.
Now, in 2018, Sam Bradford has the opportunity once again to take advantage of a needy teem
and fill a necessary position, regardless of his extensive list of past injuries. This also effectively
means he will be making a ton of money.
What happens after the Cardinals inevitably move on from Bradford?
He will probably continue to be a quarterback that is signed only until a better option presents
itself. The Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, New York Giants, and New Orleans Saints
are only a handful of the teams that may be searching for a new franchise quarterback in the near
future. As long as quarterbacks are needed, and as long as Bradford remains in playing shape, he
will always have a job somewhere in the NFL.