The timeline of potential Cardinals QB Sam Bradford’s career, injuries
The Arizona Cardinals had endless question marks surrounding their offseason, including who would be the team’s new starting quarterback following the retirement of Carson Palmer.
That, for the time being, appears to be ex-Minnesota Viking Sam Bradford, who the team intends to sign to a one-year deal with a team option for the second year.
The 30-year-old is the first quarterback on the 2018 Cardinals roster. Here’s more to know about Bradford’s football journey.
– Bradford was a three-star recruit out of Putnam City North High School in Oklahoma City. Notable names ranked ahead of Bradford in his recruiting class included Matthew Stafford, Tim Tebow and Josh Freeman.
– He would commit to Oklahoma, where he would redshirt in 2006, but would quickly make an impact the following year. He became the starter in that 2007 season and broke the then-record for most touchdown passes by a freshman in NCAA history, throwing 36 to shatter the old record of 29.
– More historic numbers would follow in his sophomore season. Bradford threw for 4,720 yards, 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions. While he did win the Heisman Trophy, Bradford didn’t run away with it in one of the closest races in Heisman history. He had 300 first-place votes, Colt McCoy landed 266 and Tebow received 309, but Bradford’s clear difference in second-place votes had him narrowly win the award.
– During his junior year, Bradford got hurt, suffering a third-degree AC joint sprain in his right shoulder in the team’s first game of the season. He would come back for one more game but re-injure the shoulder in the following week. Bradford then had season-ending shoulder surgery and would declare for the 2010 NFL Draft.
– Bradford was the No. 1 overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 2010 NFL Draft. He signed a six-year $78 million deal with a max value of $86 million, making it the largest NFL rookie contract ever. He was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010, throwing for 3,512 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
– In his first three seasons with the Rams, Bradford started a combined 42 games, including all 16 in his rookie year and third year. At the end of that third year, the Rams were linked to potentially selecting Robert Griffin III, but instead committed to Bradford by trading out of the No. 2 overall selection in that draft.
– In year four with the Rams in 2013, Bradford tore his left ACL in Week 7 and missed the rest of the season. He would re-injure the same ACL the following year in the preseason, missing all of 2014.
– That would mark the end of his time in St. Louis. The Philadelphia Eagles would trade for Bradford in the offseason, giving up a 2015 fourth-round pick, a 2016 second-round pick and quarterback Nick Foles in exchange for Bradford and a 2015 fifth-round pick. Bradford did not lead the Rams to a .500 or better record in any of the four seasons.
– In 2015, Bradford would start 14 games, missing two games due to a left shoulder injury and a concussion. The Eagles went 7-7 in his 14 starts, losing the other two games Bradford missed and would not make the playoffs.
– In March of 2016, Bradford signed a two-year $36 million extension with $26 million guaranteed, but would then be traded six months later to the Vikings for a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 conditional fourth-round pick. The trade came after Teddy Bridgewater tore his ACL in late August of that year.
– What followed was Bradford’s best season of his career, completing a league-leading and NFL record 71.6 percent of his passes for 3.877 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2016. The Vikings went 8-8 and missed the playoffs.
– With Bradford coming off a career year and plenty to be excited about around him, there was Super Bowl sleeper buzz surrounding the Vikings. Unfortunately, Bradford would once again get hurt. He missed Week 2 due to a knee injury and two more following games. Returning in Week 5, Bradford was clearly immobile and still not ready to be back. He attempted 11 passes before being replaced by Case Keenum against the Bears.
– The day after the Bears game, it was revealed there was wear and tear on Bradford’s left knee following those two ACL tears in St. Louis. A knee scope a month later led to him being placed on injured reserve and not returning on the active roster until the NFC Divisional Playoffs against the New Orleans Saints. Keenum would start that game and lead Minnesota to the NFC Championship game.
– Bradford underwent what was reported as a “not major” procedure on his left knee, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Dr. James Andrews “cleaned out” the knee and didn’t find major damage, removing “several loose particles” and cleaned up “some ragged cartilage and smoothed out some bone spur.” Per the report, Andrews told the team the hope was it would ease some of the pain Bradford was going through but did not offer “assurances on the ultimate outcome.” In previous outlooks, there was no concern over the stability Bradford’s left knee when evaluated after his ACL tears and repairs in 2013 and 2014, according to the report.
– Out of a possible 128 starts, Bradford has made 80 in his eight-year career.