The St. Louis Rams have struggled as a franchise since the departure of Kurt Warner, but help was supposed to be on the way when the team drafted quarterback Sam Bradford. To date, that draft selection simply hasn’t panned out in the Rams’ favor, and Bradford has become the poster boy for CBA ensured structuring of rookie contracts.
When Bradford entered the NFL, he signed a six-year, $78 million contract with $50 million guaranteed. Unfortunately for the Rams, such huge contracts don’t guarantee production or Super Bowl victories. In fact, Bradford’s most productive season came in 2012, when he threw for 3,702 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Now the Rams find themselves at the point of a major decision concerning Bradford’s future. With Bradford now recovering from a torn ACL, it’s tough to say exactly when he’ll be able to be back on the field. In addition, it’s unclear whether he’s talented enough to warrant even bringing back.
The Rams have two options with Bradford. The team could cut him following this season, choosing to bite the bullet and move on from an entirely mediocre era with a fresh start, or they can continue adding pieces, hoping his career will take off. Because of his contract, a trade down the road simply isn’t going to be possible.
At this junction, it’s tough to say what the Rams will do. When Bradford plays well, he’s more than just a serviceable quarterback, but he’s never shown enough to consider him a true franchise player either. With just a couple more years on his contract, the Rams will be forced into a similar scenario in the not-so-distant future, and moving on now would be far more beneficial than kicking the can down the road for another day.
2013 has been a lost campaign for the Rams, but it sets them up well for the draft in 2014. With a few wise moves, the team could add a lot of talent to help the team out of its current funk. Still, you have to have a quarterback to win consistently in the NFL, and right now, I’m not sure Sam Bradford is the man moving forward in St. Louis.