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ESPN: Sam Bradford’s Cards contract one of offseason’s worst overpays

(AP Photo/Matt York)

After Carson Palmer retired, the Arizona Cardinals were desperate for a quarterback going into next season. So the team signed Sam Bradford to a contract that ESPN deems as one of the worst overpaid contracts this offseason.

ESPN senior writer Mike Sando judged Sam Bradford’s two-year, $40 million contract as the fifth worst overpaid contract.

They structured their deal with Bradford to mitigate risk while giving the team an option for 2020. That was smart. Still, they are paying $15 million guaranteed for a quarterback who lasted less than six quarters last season, has a “degenerative” knee, according to Mike Zimmer, and has missed 33 of his past 64 games.

Even though the former Heisman winner has endured a lot of injuries in his NFL career, only playing in 80 of the possible 128 games, his performance while on the field has been underachieving compared to his years as an Oklahoma Sooner.

If Bradford holds up, this deal could push him past $150 million in career earnings without him ever being above average over an extended period. His 48.8 Total QBR since 2015 ranks 29th out of 36 quarterbacks with at least 1,000 snaps since then.

Former Cardinal defensive back Tyrann Mathieu landed on the other side of Sando’s article as he was listed as the eighth best value free agent signing.

Mathieu was released by Arizona this offseason after he refused to take a pay cut. The defensive back then went on to sign a one-year, $7 million contract with the Houston Texans.

There’s a chance Mathieu is just a decent slot corner at this point in his career, but there’s also a chance he’ll take another step forward in his second season back from injury. There’s some risk for Houston in that the Texans already have multiple key players coming off injuries, but the upside for Mathieu justifies the investment.

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