Is Torn ACL the End of Sam Bradford Era with St. Louis Rams?

By Anthony Blake

At 3-4, there’s no denying the fact that the St. Louis Rams need a win. Heck, all the Rams really need is for something positive to happen after losing their so-called franchise quarterback Sam Bradford for the season to a torn ACL. The first step in finding a shred of optimism in the fecal storm that has been the whirlwind of the past 48 hours is finding a replacement for their fallen leader under center, and there is one possibility that could potentially energize the fan base.

To shine a bit of brightness onto what is undoubtedly a very dark situation, at least the injury to Bradford occurred prior to the NFL trade deadline on October 29 at 4 p.m. ET. Even though Rams GM Les Snead has shown an aversion to surrendering valuable draft capital for players, this could be the exception to the rule. Two possibilities on the trade market currently could have some appeal for the reeling Rams.

The first and obviously least attractive option would be making a deal with the Minnesota Vikings for beleaguered starter turned third-stringer Christian Ponder. Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery to get a QB out of a funk and into the ideal situation to make things work. Ponder certainly lacks ideal arm strength for a downfield passing game, but that isn’t what he would be asked to do in offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s dink and dunk attack. His pop-gun arm is still a concern, but getting him on the cheap now that Minnesota has clearly turned the page to the Josh Freeman era is a possibility.

What is much more appealing potentially would be going back to the well in reverse after the Robert Griffin III trade and making a deal for RG3’s backup, Kirk Cousins. Now obviously given the always worrisome knee of RG3, Cousins is valuable to the Washington Redskins, but he was a fourth rounder just a year ago. He has solid arm strength, is already well-versed in professional verbiage and has proven effective in his limited time under center. There may be sound reasoning behind not wanting to give up valuable draft picks for players, but if the Rams are starting over at QB this offseason anyway, why not bring a player already accustomed to the ways of the NFL instead of a rookie who will have an adjustment period?

It may seem too early to turn the page on the Sam Bradford era less than two years after Jeff Fisher took the head coaching job and proclaimed him a franchise QB, but there’s no doubt the Rams have a big decision to make. The fact that the Rams were trying to re-up with Bradford prior to the injury shows that they don’t like the salary cap hit that’s imminent over the final two years of his current deal. The massive $17.6 million he is due in 2014 and $16.5 million in 2015 are enough to make your stomach churn for a signal caller coming off of a season-ending knee injury. The Rams are only on the hook for around $7 million guaranteed should they cut bait with him during the offseason, and a deal for a player like Cousins could make that a very real possibility.

Anthony Blake is a Senior Writer/Copy Editor for Rant Sports. You Can Follow Him on Twitter, on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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