Hopes were high for quarterback Sam Bradford entering his fourth NFL season and his first with the same offensive coordinator in back-to-back years. The St. Louis Rams added some extra insulation along their offensive line (Jake Long) and more dynamic receiving weapons in both free agency (Jared Cook) and the 2013 NFL Draft (Tavon Austin). Most believed this would be the year Bradford finally lived up to his billing as the No. 1 overall pick back in 2010 out of Oklahoma and ascend into the elite quarterback category.
Unfortunately that hasn’t happened for the man head coach Jeff Fisher endorsed as the quarterback whenever he took over the gig with the Rams in January of 2012. Despite his regression on the field so far this season, the franchise is still reportedly interested in beginning talks on an extension with their man under center. Call me crazy, but I think that would be a seriously bad move at this point in time.
First of all, Bradford has been paid like an elite quarterback since entering the league since he was a member of the final draft class prior to the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) being signed to impart a rookie wage scale. His massive $50 million guaranteed made him one of the highest paid players in the league without ever playing a snap, and that comes along with some serious expectations. Thus far, Bradford just hasn’t proven to be worth the money.
While it is fair to point out that he has been under siege for the majority of his NFL career, Bradford still refuses to stare down the gun barrel and show patience in the pocket. He is very quick to dump the ball off to his hot read and often leaves many potential big plays unmade. Statistically speaking, Bradford just hasn’t shown the type of development that player personnel people in the league look for from a former top selection in his fourth season. His completion percentage for his career is a very underwhelming 58.3 which is nearly exactly the same as his number from this season (58.8).
Dumping what the organization deemed to be a franchise quarterback would be a setback for any club, but fortunately the Rams do have the luxury of two first round picks in April’s NFL Draft. The quarterback class this year is deep with quality names like Teddy Bridgewater, Brett Hundley, Marcus Mariota, and Tajh Boyd all projected top 10 choices. With the Rams at 1-3 currently and not showing many signs of optimism, along with the Washington Redskins’ first rounder St. Louis could potentially have two top 10 picks in the spring.
Obviously looking ahead to April’s draft in September is not where this team wanted to be at this point, but the glass is still half full in terms of draft capital. Bradford’s regression is certainly not something to be happy about, but at least the Rams have the ammunition to find a potential replacement sooner rather than later.