Holdouts among NFL players are becoming more and more common. Most of them are looking for new contracts with higher pay or looking to be traded out of a bad situation. Most, if not all, of the players who holdout from team activities are elite players at their position who simply want more compensation. That’s part of what makes Eagles’ quarterback Sam Bradford’s two-week holdout such a big head-scratcher. Before we get into why this was an awful decision, let’s look at what Eagles have done for Bradford over the last year and a half:
- Traded for Bradford in an attempt to save his career and give him a fresh start away from the stagnant Rams’ offense while placing him in a familiar spread offense.
- Gave him a two-year contract extension worth $36 million ($26 million guaranteed) after he had more turnovers (14 INTs, six fumbles) than touchdown passes (19) in 2015.
- Named him starting QB despite trading up twice to draft North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz as the future of the franchise.
So, does anyone else want to complain about making $18 million a year while your replacement is getting groomed for your early retirement? I can think of a couple of fingers or toes I don’t need and would trade for that situation.
Now I understand Bradford’s frustration; He is a former number one overall pick and Rookie of the Year. He got a bum deal in St. Louis where little to nothing was done for the offense and then got traded to a roster that Chip Kelly absolutely tore apart for no reason at all. While Bradford’s 2015 season was widely viewed as disappointing, it’s important to remember that Bradford overcame his injury concerns to piece together a 14-game season on a dysfunctional Eagles team whose 2015 woes extended well past the quarterback position.
With that being said, his decision to skip two weeks of voluntary workouts because he was pissed that a younger quarterback was drafted to replace him was just STUPID. Asking for a trade, fine. Asking to be released, fine. But throwing a hissy fit, skipping workouts, and ignoring phone calls from your new head coach … BAD. Very bad for a guy who wants to find another job in this league. Bradford’s professionalism and work ethic was probably the best thing going for him since his stats are lack luster and he has never won anything, not to mention that he also has zero leverage with the Eagles. Teams that may have had interest in him this season or next probably won’t forget this little episode and will now put “malcontent” in front of Bradford’s reputation as an oft-injured journeyman who needs a special exam after each game he plays to make sure that his body isn’t falling apart.
That is an issue for someone who didn’t come out and light the league on fire last year.
There is still some talent and ability left in Bradford. He’s only 28 years old. The days of talking about his future and potential are done though. The era of revisiting “what could have been” for Bradford is pretty much here to stay. Bradford wasted his time and possibly ruined his future just so he could throw his fit over Wentz and not go to OTAs. His holdout, if you can even call it that, was one of the worst NFL “business” decisions I have seen in recent memory.
Best of luck Sam Bradford.