For starters, I will first say that I have been a Sam Bradford supporters for the longest time, and will continue to be a Bradford supporter until he is no longer on the team. As a fan, that’s what you do, you support the players, good or bad.
However, that does not take away from the facts. The fact that the Rams haven’t had a winning season under Bradford and the fact that Bradford has spent the majority of two seasons injured. It is definitely frustrating, especially coming from a number one pick.
When you look at team’s like the 49ers and Seahawks who were seen as being a step or two behind the Rams three years ago and are now making Super Bowl runs, it can be mind baffling.
In all honesty, the Rams got unlucky with Bradford, he was the best quarterback in what turned out to be a terrible draft class for quarterbacks e.g Jimmy Clausen, Tim Tebow, and Colt McCoy.
Not only that, but Bradford was the last number one overall pick that got an outrageously high rookie contract. Bradford signed a six-year, $78 million deal, which had $50 million of guarantees and a maximum value of $86 million making it the largest contract ever for an NFL rookie.
To say the least Bradford has never lived up to that contract, and because he signed that contract, people have been extra critical of him. After all he is getting paid more than both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning next season.
The very next year after the Rams chose Bradford, the rookie salary cap was put in place. Cam Newton, the Panthers number one overall pick, signed a four-year deal worth over $22 million, about 25% of what Bradford’s was worth.
Now you look at the Panthers and and the Rams, and the Panthers won their division and were two games away from the Super Bowl because they don’t have an outrageous cap hit to deal with.
Once again we’ll take a look at the Seahawks and 49ers. The Seahawks will have to pay Wilson $817,302 next season and the 49ers are paying Kaepernick $1,630,454. Because their quarterbacks aren’t getting paid as much, the 49ers and Seahawks are able to re-sign their players and are able to bring in free agents that could help the team.
Yes, Wilson and Kaepernick’s pay days are coming, and when that time comes, both team’s will pay the price. However, in a win now league, it is definitely worth it, and that’s exactly what both team’s will do, they will win.
With team’s overpaying their quarterbacks, it’s very difficult to build a team around that quarterback. The Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots have experienced that, and the Denver Broncos are about to experience it with the free agents that they could lose this offseason.
Teams with the elite quarterbacks can get away with the big cap hits, because they are making the players around them better. Bradford just isn’t at that level.
Two years ago when the Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning, it may have been a blessing in disguise. With Manning’s cap hit, the Colts were not able to fix their team that had so many issues.
The Colts decided to let Manning go and draft a quarterback with just as much upside in Andrew Luck and have to pay him 20% of what they would have had to pay Manning.
Because of that the Colts haven’t missed a beat and very well could be championship contenders as soon as next season.
This upcoming year Bradford will be the seventh highest paid quarterback in the NFL, and luckily enough, the Rams have the third lowest cap number to spend this offseason, making it very difficult for a team ready get to the next level, make that jump.
The Rams need to re-sign offensive tackle Rodger Saffold and would probably like to add a few players in free agency. With a cap hit like Bradford’s it will be very hard to do so and they will have to make the difficult decisions elsewhere on the roster.
This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if Bradford was earning his money, but he quite simply, has not. He has spent the majority of two season’s injured and has yet to lead the Rams to a .500 record or better.
As in everything else, the Rams ran into some bad luck with Bradford who has been a victim of bad circumstance. The Rams will have to go with Bradford until the end of his deathly contract and then decide if they want to stick with him for the long term, which as of now it looks like they do. Until then Bradford will continue to hold this team back.