NFL: Why the Eagles Should Bring Back Sam Bradford

Sam Bradford looks to throw against the Buffalo Bills

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Now that the dust finally settled on Philly’s disaster of a season, and now that they’ve cut ties with Chip Kelly, we find ourselves less fixated on how things used to be with this team, and more interested on what they could actually become. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, this has a lot to do with quarterback Sam Bradford.

One week after helping lead the Eagles to an improbable road victory over the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, Bradford was back at it again. This time, thanks to an afternoon that saw him complete 23 of 38 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown (and one interception that wasn’t his fault), Philadelphia won for the second week in a row, improved its record to 6-7 on the year, and remain tied atop the NFC East standings.

Considering the 2015 season has been a fiasco for the Philadelphia Eagles, we didn’t think this team had a shot at the postseason. But make no mistake, now that the Eagles do find themselves in this position, it’s clear that none of this would be possible without the steady right arm of No. 7. Which is why, no matter how the rest of this season plays out, one thing remains certain: The Eagles would be crazy not to bring back Sam Bradford in 2016.

Sam Bradford and Darren Sproles celebrate a touchdown

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Let’s get this out of the way: Bradford is not perfect. Far from it, in fact. And for the record, that was never going to be our argument. So, let’s take a deep breath and relax. The fact is, what we’ve come to realize after watching Bradford operate over these past two weeks is that the Eagles respond to him. He has become a bona fide leader — both on and off the field. And in a sport as physically demanding and mentally exhausting as football, these are the types of figures you need to keep around. These are the individuals who will inspire the rest.

“I think everyone looks to him as a leader,” said Eagles tight end Zach Ertz. “The past couple of games, he kind of stepped up before the game and delivered an unbelievable message to us. I think he was getting there earlier in the year, and now he has kind of established himself as a leader. The value of him to this team is second to none.”

However, with Bradford at the helm, at least this club has started to craft an identity. None of that is to say that he’s the team’s savior at the quarterback position. Nor do we suggest that the Eagles shouldn’t look to take a quarterback in the 2016 draft. Yet, if you can get him back for the right price, there’s no reason why Sam Bradford shouldn’t be in Philadelphia next season. It’s the best move for all parties involved.

All statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com and ESPN.go.com.