Rapid Reaction: Cardinals to sign quarterback Sam Bradford
No, the Arizona Cardinals didn’t get free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins.
He opted to sign with the Minnesota Vikings, and a fully guaranteed three-year, $86 million deal made it a pretty easy choice, we’re guessing.
Forced to move down their list of quarterback options, the Arizona Cardinals focused on free agent Sam Bradford, who spent the last two years in Minnesota and was effective, when healthy.
Here’s a sampling of quick reactions from the personalities of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on the Cardinals’ intention of signing Bradford.
Vince Marotta, Co-host of Bickley and Marotta
As far as fallback plans go, the Cardinals could have done a lot worse than Bradford. Yes, he’s injury-prone, but over his last 31 starts, he’s over .500 (16-15), he’s completed almost 69 percent of his passes and his touchdown-to-interception ratio is a healthy 42-to-19.
I also like the fact that he’s about $10 million cheaper annually than Cousins with a similar statistical history. That gives Steve Keim added flexibility to address other positions in free agency.
And the last time Keim rolled the dice on an injury-prone former Heisman winner who was a top overall draft pick, it worked out pretty well.
I’d still like to see the Cardinals address QB with either a first- or second-round pick in April. It’s time to identify and groom the starter of the future with Bradford filling a gap for a year and helping the growth process.
John Gambadoro, Co-host of Burns and Gambo
The chances of landing a franchise quarterback in free agency is slim to none. Very few ever become available, so let’s not overanalyze this.
The Cardinals will likely get their future quarterback in the draft, probably in April’s draft.
Now, onto Sam Bradford.
You cannot mention Bradford’s name without having “if he is healthy” in the sentence. The two go hand-in-hand. So if he is healthy, Bradford has the most upside of the quarterbacks that were available outside of Kirk Cousins.
He has the highest risk but also has the highest potential reward. The Cardinals liked Bradford better than Case Keenum. Better than AJ McCarron. Better than Josh McCown. Better than Teddy Bridgewater. A lot better. And rightfully so. When healthy, he is good, really good.
In 2016 when he played 15 games, he had a 71 percent completion rate. Last year in Week 1 vs. New Orleans, he tore them up for three touchdown passes, 346 yards and a QB rating of 143.0. If Bradford can stay healthy, he can have Arizona challenge for a playoff spot.
There were two teams that wanted Bradford and offered more than Arizona did but he chose the Cardinals. Good opportunity. Warm weather. Domed stadium. Larry Fitzgerald. Good defense. He will be considered a bridge quarterback but considering what is available in free agency, Arizona did just fine.
Craig Grialou, Reporter
Low risk. High reward. That’s my initial reaction to the Sam Bradford signing.
While it certainly doesn’t completely answer the quarterback question — that won’t be solved until after the draft — it does give us a partial answer as to how the Cardinals plan to address the quarterback position this offseason.
The way I see it, the Cardinals 1) didn’t commit a ton of money, thus tying their hands to address other needs on the roster and 2) didn’t commit long-term to a player with obvious injury concerns.
If it works, great; if it doesn’t, then there had better be a Plan B and Plan C in place; and given Bradford’s history, Plan B and Plan C may be needed this season.
We can all agree on this: Don’t all Cardinals fans feel just a little bit better that their team has AT LEAST one quarterback now on the roster?
Kellan Olson, Editor
By signing Bradford, the Cardinals essentially locked in two moves with one. Because of Bradford’s extensive injury history and the growing concern around his left knee last year, the Cardinals need a backup with experience starting in place.
That might not be a certainty for some, but if you are the Cardinals signing Bradford for $20 million, you are still looking to do the most possible to win in 2018 and you can’t make that commitment with an unknown commodity backing up an injury-plagued quarterback.
I hope we see the Cardinals still maintain a certain level of aggression in the upcoming NFL Draft to get the quarterback of the future and not settle for a pick in rounds 3-5 like they have in the past. As a firm believer in Lamar Jackson, I’d like to see the Cardinals either trade back in the first round to take Jackson or have them target him in round two.
Dave Burns, Co-host of Burns and Gambo
My first thought was of a character from one of my favorite movies, “Unbreakable.” Samuel L. Jackson played the evil Mr. Glass, named that because his bones break so easily.
I’m concerned the Cardinals just signed Mr. Glass, minus the evil part.
What’s the number? Is it four games? Eight? 12? Can Bradford play 16 games?
You can spin it however you’d like. In two of the last three years he’s played in 14 or more games. In three of the last five he’s played in seven games or less. Only twice in his career has he played all 16. The shame of it is when he plays he has better upside than anybody other than Kirk Cousins. I hope the Cardinals get to see that guy a lot this year. But it seems unreasonable to expect that.