Sam Bradford decision not getting any easier for Eagles

PHILADELPHIA -- The decision isn’t getting any easier.

When Chip Kelly traded Nick Foles for Sam Bradford, he knew what he was getting. Bradford had missed most of the past two seasons with torn ligaments in his left knee. He had one year left on the contract he signed in St. Louis as the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft.

The Philadelphia Eagles and Bradford had some preseason discussions about a contract extension. Those talks were fruitless, and Bradford began this season as a lame duck, contract-wise.

That season is now 25 percent over and the Eagles are no closer to knowing whether they found their franchise quarterback or whether Bradford is in the same category as Foles or Mark Sanchez or a number of other quarterbacks.

The Eagles are 1-3 in Bradford’s four starts. Bradford has completed 88 of 145 passes (60.7 percent) for 948 yards. He has thrown six touchdown passes and four interceptions. His passer rating is 82.2.

Bradford is 17th in the league in passing yards, 30th in passer rating, and tied for 13th in touchdown passes.

Those are not numbers that scream a conclusion either way. Bradford could be just a middle-of-the-pack quarterback. That is not what Kelly was hoping for when he acquired him.

Bradford had his best game Sunday at Washington. His rating was 122.6, some 40 points above his season number. He threw three touchdowns, or half his season total, including throws of 62 and 39 yards. He hung in the pocket despite taking five sacks and facing pressure at other times.

Is that a sign Bradford has taken strides toward being that franchise quarterback, or merely a sign that Washington has a poor pass defense?

The point here isn’t to rush to one conclusion or another. The point is only to consider the possibility that the rest of the season has similar ups and downs.

Bradford’s numbers project to 352 completions, 580 attempts, 3,792 yards, 24 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

Those numbers would put Bradford in the neighborhood of Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, Chicago’s Jay Cutler and Dallas’ Tony Romo from last season. That isn’t terrible. In fact, it’s pretty good.

But is “pretty good” what Kelly is looking for in a quarterback? Would a season in of Flacco/Cutler/Romo level quarterbacking convince Kelly he needed to invest in a five-year, $90 million contract for Bradford? Or would it convince Kelly he needs to look elsewhere for that Super Bowl-caliber quarterback?

The decision isn’t getting any easier as more information on Bradford becomes available.