Sam Bradford and rainbow roll

Sam Bradford

Sam Bradford and rainbow roll.

My wife and I go to this sushi restaurant in Burke, Virginia on a regular basis.  Beijing Tokyo Asian Restaurant.  Fantastic sushi preparation and so fresh you’d think the cook owned a fishing pole.  If you’re in the area, don’t miss out on a master itamea plying his trade.

While we moved out of the area a couple of years ago, we still drive over state lines into Virginia to enjoy sushi night in Burke sometimes.  We’ve gone elsewhere, certainly.  The sushi elsewhere seems to be artificially flavored, not constructed well, or just isn’t as fresh as you’d expect.  Don’t even start me on grocery store sushi boxes.  I think I’d rather eat the box and throw away the fish.  When you find what you want, sometimes you don’t bother wasting your time, effort and money elsewhere.  You will travel far and wide to get the quality product.

Some people forget this principle when drafting for a quarterback in two-quarterback dynasty drafts.  You don’t always need to buy into the newest and freshest quarterback faces.  No one really knows how they’ll do in the NFL once they get a chance.  In 2000, six highly touted quarterbacks were drafted prior to Tom Brady being chosen, and none of them ever started in a Super Bowl.  Dynasty drafters forget that NFL general managers are just like people searching for the quality product.  They’d rather spend their money on a known commodity rather than misfire and get a disastrous result.

Youth is sometimes overvalued in dynasty.  An example of this is when a newer player just coming into the league like Jared Goff is drafted in a fantasy league before more established veterans like Andy Dalton.  The dynasty way of thinking that “youth is valuable because those players will be around longer” does have its merits, but don’t forget that it’s hard to get and keep a job in football. All offseason we are hearing stories about players who did fantastic work last year being cut or demoted by their teams because someone else was drafted or traded for.  There are few guarantees in the sport.  Each year every player has to come to camp in the best shape of their life and fight for their job all over again.

For quarterbacks, this means that Sam Bradford can’t come in to Philadelphia with a gaudy contract and expect to be the quarterback for the next ten years.  28-year-old Sam Bradford was the first overall pick in the NFL draft in 2010.  The Eagles drafted Carson Wentz with the second overall pick in the 2016 draft and he is expected to be the quarterback of the future for that team.  There are no guarantees in the NFL.  Bradford, therefore, will need to put on a show to land another contract elsewhere next year as anything more than a backup for someone else.  If I was drafting for a two quarterback dynasty team today I would also choose Carson Wentz long before Sam Bradford, but if Bradford can stay healthy then he’d be the discount of the century right now.

The NFL community many times predicted the end of Jay Cutler, but he’s still throwing.  Likewise, the dirt has been spread over Carson Palmer’s grave several times to no avail.  “Top” quarterbacks are rare enough that the truly talented will get several chances to show they can come back.  Sam Bradford will likely get those chances over and over as well.

So am I saying you should buy Bradford in two quarterback dynasty?  Well, yes.  His value is low enough right now that you aren’t risking much in the purchase to buy him.  A 2016 early second round pick maybe.  I’d rather have Bradford in 2QB dynasty rather than Devontae Booker or Tyler Boyd who get drafted in those spots.

Bradford is 28, so he may have a good ten years ahead of him.  More than that he has been on a mediocre team most of his professional career (the Los Angeles Rams, formerly of Saint Louis).  Last year he was on a disastrous Philadelphia Eagles team that, under inexperienced coach Chip Kelly “gutted his roster with questionable moves… that resulted in an imperfect defense and deeply dysfunctional offense” (Rotoworld 29 Dec 2015).  He’s honestly never really had a chance to show what he can do with a decent coach, a decent WR class and being injury-free at the same time.  Imagine for one moment Bradford happily learning from new Eagles coach Doug Pederson and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo (who was Oakland quarterback Derek Carr’s QB coach in his rookie year), looking forward to a sophomore year with the same talented wide receivers for a change and who finished 2016 healthy, beating the Giants in week 17 while completing 30 of 38 passes.

Is this a dream world I’m speaking of?  There’s a chance.  But the Eagles certainly didn’t feel so. They re-upped Sam Bradford with a 36-million-dollar two-year contract with 22 million of it guaranteed.  The signing bonus part of that was 11 million.  You don’t give that to someone unless you have SOME belief in their abilities and want to take a shot at keeping them for the best years of their career.  Then there’s always the chance that Carson Wentz turns out to be like those players drafted before Tom Brady and just can’t hack it on the NFL level.

Maybe Sam Bradford wont stay healthy and will fade into obscurity like Tee Martin and Spergon Wynn.  Maybe he gets picked up by Atlanta next year and sits behind Matt Ryan for the next decade.  Bradford will have to prove he is worth starter money this year if he’s to stay in Philadelphia with a rookie hot on his heels. But that’s the thing about dynasty fantasy football.  Even if he doesn’t stay healthy or flourish this year, someone else in the NFL will probably give him a shot, and recent reports suggest that he’s not going to be happy sitting behind someone.  In the meanwhile, you can keep this first-pick-in-the-first-round player on your dynasty team regardless of which NFL team he’s on for the price of a $3.59 grocery store bento box.

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