If this was a year ago before Chip Kelly was general manager, I imagine Howard Roseman would have responded to this trade, “You’re crazy. You’re crazy. I like you…but you’re crazy.”
Sadly, this isn’t a year ago, and now Chip has the ability to make personnel moves. Rather than focus on free agency and his ailing secondary, he turned to what he knows and decided to make a change at quarterback. This trade is a little complicated, so let me try and explain the details:
Philadelphia receives: Sam Bradford, 2015 fifth round pick
Saint Louis receives: Nick Foles, 2015 fourth round pick, 2016 second round pick
Additional considerations for the Eagles: Rams’ 2016 fourth round pick if Bradford fails to start 8 games, Rams’ 2016 third round pick if Bradford gets re-injured.
Overall, the trade seems odd considering Bradford holds a $13 million salary in 2015 and the Rams were getting desperate to shed the salary before the season. Meanwhile, Foles will only cost the Rams about $1.5 million and double their cap space to $26 million before considering rookie contracts.
What this means for the Eagles?
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In Bradford, the Eagles definitely get a quarterback with a nice pedigree (former first overall pick), but he has failed to live up to it so far. Part of that has to due with two ACL injuries, which has limited him to play in all 16 games just twice in five professional seasons including zero games in 2014. Bradford has made some improvements with a career high 60.7% completion percentage in 2013 and was on pace for 32 touchdowns before his first ACL tear cut his season short at seven games. Additionally, Bradford has never had a season with more interceptions than touchdowns (54:38 career TD to INT ratio), and he did this with far less talent at wide receiver than what he inherits in Philadelphia.
As for the rest of the offense, this is a big positive for Josh Huff. He had a 9.1 average depth per target in 2014, albeit on just 17 targets. This closely aligns to Sam Bradford’s annual aDOT of seven to nine yards, which profiles him as a short passer. In 2012, Bradford’s last season, Danny Amendola had 94 targets in a slot role, something I expect to see from the second year receiver operating from frequently. Meanwhile, more ballyhooed second year receiver Jordan Matthews will not be forgotten. Chip Kelly isn’t afraid to test the deep pass and Bradford’s career 43% completion rate on 20+ yard passes is a nice improvement over the 35% that Eagles quarterbacks managed in 2014. That’s something to consider given the 97 deep ball attempts for Philadelphia in 2014, which led the league by the way.
There aren’t many losers here as Kelly’s offense tends to mask quarterback deficiencies. I will say Zach Ertz is getting little help here as Bradford has never been one to rely on his tight end. Some of that has to do with having terrible tight ends in Saint Louis so I am reserving judgment until he gets a chance to play.
What this means for the Rams?
Well, as mentioned before, they have shed a ridiculous contract from their books and gained a few draft picks. In Foles, the team gets a quarterback with starting experience and a chance to test him out this year before committing money to the position. What is difficult with Foles is separating out his talent from Chip Kelly’s offense. He shined in 2013 (27:2 TD to INT ratio) but has been mediocre otherwise (19:15 in 15 other games). Add in an offensive line that is rebuilding and a quarterback with a career 6% sack rate and we could see Foles struggle to make it through an entire season in one piece. On the flip side, Foles has been more accurate than Bradford (61.6% career completion rate), has playoff experience, and should be able to pick up on this offense quickly after operating in Kelly’s system.
I was already high on Brian Quick not knowing his quarterback situation so getting some consistency in Foles can only help. With a 16.3 aDOT, he is an intermediate to deep ball receiver but a very efficient one (68% catch rate on a team averaging 63% overall). When he was healthy in 2014, Foles used Jeremy Maclin as his deep threat and I see Quick providing similar value. Jordan Matthews was his underneath receiver and that’s where Stedman Bailey would come in. Another efficient option (69% catch rate), Bailey should play an expanded role and be a safety valve for Foles.
Much like Bradford, Foles doesn’t use his tight end as much. Ertz saw 38 targets in Foles’ eight starts compared to 48 in Sanchez’s eight starts in 2014. This could be an issue for leading target Jared Cook, who had 91 targets in 2014, but that could be partially blamed on missed games for Quick, Bailey, and other receivers. Tre Mason is not much of a pass catcher so his value will remain constant.
Overall, I don’t envision the values of many to change with this trade outside the quarterbacks. Bradford is the biggest winner moving into a more prolific offense, but injuries remain the concern. Assuming he remains the starter heading into the season, I would be comfortable targeting him as a mid-QB2. He could be viewed a little higher if an extension is reached. As for Foles, job security for 2014 is nice and he does have some intriguing receiving options, but not to the level he had in Philadelphia. A low-QB2 ranking seems appropriate for me given his pending free agency after the season and middling numbers to date.
Share your thoughts on the trade and how you think it impacts their value.