The only surprise of Sam Bradford's trade demand is that it blind-sided Philadelphia Eagles management.
The two-year contract Bradford signed this offseason could have been interpreted as more of a one-year "prove it" deal based on the dollars, but at least that gave Bradford some assurances he'd have a chance to show he can be the future in Philly. Now, from a franchise standpoint, Bradford looks like a "bridge" quarterback, assuming the team does what we expect and drafts a quarterback with the No. 2 pick on Thursday night.
Once that reality was clear, Bradford had to be upset. The problem for Bradford is that depending on how this draft goes, he might not have many suitors. Trading a $17.5 million-a-year contract isn't easy. The San Francisco 49ers learned that with their messy Colin Kaepernick situation. Kaepernick, working on a $19-million a year deal, is still in San Francisco after the Broncos asked him to take a big pay cut and other teams weren't interested.
So who could factor into the trade market for Bradford? Here are some possibilities.
If the Eagles are willing to take a hit on the finances, this could work. That works as long as he makes an adjustment in his contract. The Broncos have a little less than $7 million of cap room. Bradford has $17 million coming to him next year, so he would either have to restructure on a long-term deal or possibly waive the $4 million guarantee. From the Eagles standpoint, they would have to accept an $11 million cap hit for the $11 million signing bonus. From the cap perspective, they would save $1.5 million because they won't have to pay his $7 million salary. The Eagles might be able to justify it financially because they would be paying $7 million a year to Chase Daniel to be the backup and around $6 million a year for their drafted quarterback. Plus, they would be getting out of a $22 million obligation for Bradford at $11 million in sunk costs (the dead money from the signing bonus).
The other question is what the Eagles can get for Bradford in a trade. Elway placed a fourth-round value on Kaepernick. He'd likely offer a third-day draft choice this year and a conditional choice next year for Bradford.
Bradford might also be a fit here for a low draft choice. Ryan Fitzpatrick's demands make the Bradford contract more palatable. The question then is for Bradford: what is he willing to do to make it work long-term for the Jets? You can't have everything. Bradford has made $78 million in his first six years and is well-paid in this contract. What he needs more than anything is a home. He might have to take less on a multi-year deal to avoid moving on to a fourth team before the age of 30.
It's probably not an option, but the Browns could at least consider bringing Bradford in to compete against RGIII if they don't want to take a QB in the draft, period. The Browns have 12 draft choices and might trade down to acquire more. They have more than $43 million of cap room, so Bradford's deal is not a problem. What Sashi Brown has to do is match up Bradford's skills against other quarterbacks in this draft class who could be available.