I did this is talk form too:
What the Cardinals are doing with Sam Bradford is very clear: they’re signing him as a bridge starter and will draft a QB this year, who will probably start at some point this year.
The deal is two years, $40M. $15M is guaranteed for the first year, and the second year is an option. Understandably, some people are not happy with this. Sam Bradford is injured a lot, to the point where three teams have moved on from him. The teams move on form him for that reason, injury concerns.
The problem with most people’s reaction to the Bradford deal is that in addition to saying how oft-injured he is, the phrase, “He sucks,” tends to be thrown around. That is an objectively false statement. Say he shouldn’t get the contract due to injury, which I also disagree with, but don’t say it’s because he sucks. It’s honestly turned into one of those statements that when I someone say it I automatically assume that person really doesn’t know much, kind of like saying Marcus Mariota sucks or the folks that made it to November still thinking the Saints defense was bad.
In the event you missed this, Kirk Cousins was signed for $84M guaranteed. This means the Vikings can’t fill out holes in their roster, in seemingly “win now” move. People also incorrectly assume the Vikings had some dominant offensive line this season. It was a below average offensive line even when the starters were healthy, which was rarely the case. Cousins has not been great behind in offensive line that was slightly better in Washington.
The Vikings had enough cap room that they could’ve franchised Bradford or Case Keenum (who both played great even with that offensive line), drafted a QB, filled out the edges of their roster, signed other players long-term, and found themselves in a “best of both worlds” medley of winning now AND planning for the future. Well now they don’t have that cap room and have a QB who is maybe the 16th best QB in the league. The rest of the roster could be good enough to elevate Cousins and win now, but a few years down the line, unless they draft like Nick Fury, the Vikings could be screwed.
The Cardinals are doing what the Vikings should have done. They come into this offseason knowing a few things:
- We need a QB.
- This is probably Larry Fitzgerald’s last rodeo
- Our offensive line sucks
- We can’t afford big name offensive lineman in free agency.
Solution? We don’t want to tank the final year of Larry Fitzgerald’s career, so we sign a very good QB who has proven he can succeed against very good defenses.
He’s injury prone? So we draft our QB in the future. If Bradford goes down, we turn to the rookie, pay Bradford $15M and don’t pick up the second year option. Larry understands.
Bradford doesn’t get injured? Then our team is probably doing well considering David Johnson’s ability to defy a shitty offensive line and open up the defense both vertically and horizontally. Our defense is still pretty good. Oh and we signed Andre Smith and Justin Pugh. AQ Shipley and Mike Iupati might not have worse years than the Train singer this time around. And a healthy Sam Bradford is probably performing well against the NFC West teams and most teams he plays against.
And the best part of that? We can still let him walk after one year, and begin the luxury of having a cheap QB for three years while we bolster the rest of our roster, having not overpaid for a QB.
THAT is what the Vikings should have done. Considering how complete their team is, Bradford/Keenum paired with a Mason Rudolph would’ve given the Vikings a thicc window to work with. But the Cousins deal sets up a team like the Bears to be able to pass the Vikings in a few years, whereas the Bradford deal sets the Cardinals up to at the least compete within their division now, and keep up with the Rams and 49ers within the next few years.
Not only is Bradford’s contract better than Cousins’, but Bradford if better than Cousins, and it’s not really close either.