In the Common Draft Era (since 1967) 20 QBs have been picked first overall and only two of those QBs will have played fewer games in their first five seasons in the NFL than Sam Bradford: JaMarcus Russell (possibly the biggest draft bust of all time) and Alex Smith.
Bradford, QB for the St. Louis Rams, will now miss the entire 2014 season after he tore his ACL in his left knee in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. This is the same injury Bradford sustained in the middle of the 2013 season. This is a huge blow to Bradford and to the Rams (who had hopes of this being the year they broke through and made the playoffs).
The Rams now have plans to start backup QB Shaun Hill this season. There are rumors out there that the Rams could be interested in trading for a QB, including New England Patriots backup (possibly) QB Ryan Mallet. The Patriots drafted Mallet in the third round (74th overall) of the 2011 NFL draft, and he is entering the final year of his contract. Given how well 2014 second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo is playing this preseason, Mallet’s days may be numbered in New England. Reportedly, Garoppolo is expected to start the Patriots final preseason game and play the majority, if not all of it, which means Mallet probably won’t even see the field. The Patriots seem to have decided that Garoppolo is their guy after starter Tom Brady, and Mallet won’t be around for the future. They would probably love to trade Mallet and get a draft pick(s) back in return. With Bradford out for the season, would the Rams pull the trigger on a trade?
The Rams knew their was a high probability that Bradford could be injured again, but they never made any inquiries (as far as we know) this offseason regarding the availability of backup QBs. They could have already looked into the availability of Mallet, Mark Sanchez or Kirk Cousins (if the Washington Redskins would even part with him), but they haven’t, as far as we know. While Mallet could be a starting QB in the NFL, do the Rams want to trade away any draft picks to acquire him when they would be unsure about his future with the team? They may need those draft picks to trade up in the 2015 NFL draft so they can select a QB, because Bradford’s contract (due $14 million in 2014 and $13 million in 2015) is up after the 2015 season and the Rams probably don’t feel comfortable moving forward with Bradford as their starting QB. At the end of this season, the Rams will have paid Bradford $65.1 million and he’s won exactly 18 games (record is 18-30-1) which amounts to $3,616,666.66 per win. After investing all of the money they have in Bradford over the last four seasons (and the $13 million in 2015), the Rams will want something closer to a sure thing, even if that doesn’t exist, and their next QB will cost them considerably less.
The Rams play in the toughest division in football. Will they really feel it’s worth it to trade away any draft picks to acquire a QB like Mallet to possibly increase their playoff chances ever so slightly? They shouldn’t and they probably won’t. It’s too bad for the Patriots because they’d love to unload Mallet, who does have some talent, and get something in return. If they are able to trade him, it probably won’t be to the Rams.
Yes, things change when your starter goes down for the season, but if the Rams didn’t feel comfortable with Hill as their backup, they would have already brought someone in to replace him. The Rams will bring in a veteran to backup Hill in case Hill is injured or if Hill under performs.