In 1989, the Minnesota Vikings, feeling that a legitimate running back threat was the only thing preventing them from making a serious Super Bowl run, traded for then Cowboys running back Hershel Walker, in what was considered a blockbuster deal at that time.
That trade eventually netted the Cowboys three first round and three second-round picks (including first-round pick Emmitt Smith) who, along with quarterback Troy Aikman and wide receiver Michael Irvin, ended up being the catalyst for their turnaround from doormat of the NFL to Super Bowl champion three times in a four year-span.
Meanwhile, the Vikings never saw the desired result they expected from acquiring an all-pro running back. While they won the division that season, they were thumped by the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional playoff round and never made it back to the playoffs the following two years with Hershel Walker on their roster.
Hershel was eventually released and ended up signing with the Eagles in 1992, and the Minnesota trade was largely seen by many as a fleecing of the Vikings organization.
If all goes exactly as the Eagles hope, yesterday’s trade of quarterback Sam Bradford could end up being the “Fleecing of the Vikings #2”.
In a unprecedented move that saw a NFL team trade away their starting quarterback with only a week to go till the start of the regular season, the Bradford trade was the finality to a culmination of events that started with the devastating season ending injury suffered by Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at practice last Tuesday.
The Vikings, once again hoping to go deep in the playoffs much like in 1989, were left with backup Shaun Hill at quarterback to lead them there. Add to that the fact that they are opening a brand new stadium and starting the season at quarterback with the journeyman Hill would have been the equivalent of having your wedding at the Four Seasons or the Ritz Carlton and serving 1) Peanut butter and jelly and 2) Grilled cheese sandwiches as the main course.
It was pure luck that the Eagles were able to trade Sam Bradford to Minnesota because of the injury. But it was skill on General Manager Howie Roseman’s part to not only receive a 1st round pick back as compensation, but an additional 2018 pick as well that will be no worse than a 4th rounder.
With the Bradford trade, Howie has, in true “Back to the Future” style, undone all of the bad moves that former coach Chip Kelly initiated last year (perhaps we should just refer to Howie as “Marty McFly”?). Gone are DeMarco Murray, Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso, and now Bradford…all Chip Kelly moves that didn’t turn out to achieve the desired results.
Normally, the trading of your starting quarterback this late in the year would mean that a team is “punting” away the season and looking to the future. But upon further review, I don’t think this reduces the expectations for your 2016 Eagles at all.
For starters, the expectations were not that high to began with even with Bradford at quarterback. The guy is essentially a glorified game manager and not the second coming of Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, which is what one would expect out of a former number one overall draft pick. The Eagles would have been fortunate to get eight or nine wins even if they kept him.
The question is, how much does playing an inexperienced Carson Wentz at quarterback, who has a huge upside, versus an experienced, veteran quarterback who is slightly above average at best with no upside, really hurt you? We already knew that the defense and the special teams of the 2016 Eagles were much stronger than the offense, and nothing about the Bradford trade changes that.
Wentz will naturally make some rookie mistakes early on that Bradford would not, but by the 2nd half of the season, he may be making the plays that Bradford will never make (this is assuming, of course, that he is healthy enough to play).
There are a few other reasons that I am glad to see Sam Bradford go as well:
- He never really wanted to be here this season anyway.
- I’ll stop thinking that Keanu Reeves is playing for the Eagles.
- That “deer in the headlights” look that he has at his postgame news conference be it win, lose, or draw.
- His inability to throw the ball down the field.
On the long-term, getting the ball rolling with rookie Carson Wentz at the helm sooner than later is the best thing this team could do. And in a weak division, it would not surprise me if they won the division anyway.
Broad & Pattison turned on its heels once this trade was announced. Hopefully, the 2016 season will turn for the better with it as well.