Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

24 Aug 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Sam Bradford Tears ACL Again, Out for Year

Tough break here for the Rams and for Sam Bradford, who will miss the entire 2014 season after another tear in his left ACL in Saturday night's preseason game against Cleveland. It's the same ACL he tore in the middle of last year. Veteran Shaun Hill now becomes the Rams' starting quarterback; he at least has a good track record of avoiding turnovers. They'll surely be scouring the waiver wire the next week or two to find a better backup than Austin Davis. Meanwhile, this is probably the end for Bradford in St. Louis, as he has a cap number around $16 million for next year. This was really the year he had to prove himself, and now he won't get the chance.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 24 Aug 2014

46 comments, Last at 25 Jan 2016, 9:53pm by muhammad27


by PaddyPat :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 5:28pm

Is this it for him, period? What history is there for double ACL tear recoveries? Does the reconstructive surgery get more complicated at that point? Gosh, I'd tell him to focus on just being able to walk and jog and live a decent life at this point, I mean, he's already made millions in the NFL.

And on the other side of things, does anyone legitimately think the Rams try to trade for another quarterback in case Hill struggles or gets injured? Sanchez, Mallett? Someone like that?

by apocalipstick :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 6:25pm

He's done because he has a huge cap number and little proven ability to stay healthy or produce at the NFL level.

As far as his millions, it always seems to us like he should be set, but remember that he pays an agent and probably a manager, and he gets taxed at the highest rate because he is considered not an employee, but an independent contractor.

by dbostedo :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 6:38pm

True, but he got a $24,000,000 signing bonus on his first deal. Even after taxes, fees, payments to agents, lawyers, money-managers, etc. he should have been able to save a large chunk of that - say, $10M (as a totally random guess)? Plus what he's made since then, and unless he's been poor with his money, I think he could be fine for a long time...

by herewegobrownie... :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 9:44pm

It sounds like he has been very well-equipped with financial advisors, and has an insurance exec for a dad. Also had a lot of high-intelligence measurables (grades, Wonderlic, etc.)

Granted, Bernie Kosar was supposed to have a lot of these financially favorable qualities and is broke.

by SuperGrover :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:42am

True but Kosar is most likely either an addict or has major brain injury (or both). Hopefully, Bradford falls into neither of those buckets.

by Will Allen :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 10:05pm

Players are employees, not independent contractors, and always have been. A union of independent contractors would be an illegal cartel.

by apocalipstick :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 10:11pm

Are you sure? Actors have a union and they are considered independent contractors. I'm not a labor lawyer, nor do I play one on television.

by Will Allen :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 10:30pm

The IRS sez.....


...that most actors are employees. You have to understand that the stars have their own production companies, and the major studios have a contract with the star's company.

NFL players are most definitely employees.

by Will Allen :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 10:14pm

Christian Ponder for Chris Long and Robert Quinn!!!!

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 1:07pm

Tampa will trump your offer for a simple straight-up trade of Mike Glennon for Robert Quinn. Glennon at least has some upside and has a very cheap contract. So, my trade offer, being at least slightly less insane than yours, wins, and we get Quinn.

by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 10:17am

I'd tell him to focus on just being able to walk and jog and live a decent life at this point, I mean, he's already made millions in the NFL.

The guy I'd be making this argument to, this week, is Wes Welker. Out indefinitely with his third concussion in ten months.

by PaddyPat :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:41am

Agreed completely. Those are seriously dangerous. I've been concussed once. One of my eyes was fully dilated for over a week. It's scary stuff.

by Never Surrender :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 5:30pm

Sanchez would be rather expensive. I could see them sending a pick to Washington for Kirk Cousins — maybe a 2nd or a 3rd + conditional pick(s).

by PaddyPat :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 5:45pm

Is it just me, or does the backup situation across the NFL look more barren than it used to? Guess it might have something to do with how much more the league is leaning on the passing game, but I recall veteran guys like Neil O'Donnell, Tony Banks, Jeff Blake, Rob Johnson, Steve Beurelein, etc. hanging around--a bunch of marginal starters who could get you by in a pinch for extended time. Now, I look at depth charts with Orlovsky, Gradkowski, Rex Grossman (somehow still employed), Derek Anderson, and I don't get it. Is there really so little talent out there? Is it just not developing?

by djanyreason :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 6:00pm

Defenses have evolved since the days of Neil O'Donnell and Jeff Blake, and their limitations might be more exploited by modern defensive schemes. It's possible they'd outplay Rex Grossman against today's defenses, but not certain by any means.

by PaddyPat :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 6:27pm

Yeah, that feels about right, but it's interesting nevertheless. I wonder that the gap between starters and backups might not have grown considerably in the last decade or so.

by t.d. :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 3:08am

Henry Burress, Craig Krenzel, and Chad Hutchinson object to being forgotten. Right now, there's Mike Vick, Matt Moore, Kyle Orton, Matt Hasselback, Chad Henne, Sanchez, and Tarvaris Jackson, and most of those guys have led a team to the playoffs.

by MC2 :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 3:26am

Henne is a starter (at least temporarily).

by t.d. :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 3:49am

OK, swap him out for David Garrard

by apocalipstick :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 6:27pm

Salary cap plays a big part in this. A backup of starting quality might just cost too much, or you have more money tied up in another position, like cornerback or left tackle. Depth at almost all positions in the NFL is pretty thin; the days of keeping pretty good players around in case your All-Pro starter goes down are long past.

by Jetspete :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 7:50pm

Well back in the 80s before free agency, backups could be forced with the same team for years. That gave them a chance to develop and learn a system (see Hosstetler, Jeff and Young, Steve, etc). Expansion from 28-32 over a decade period also stretched the backup quarterback pool. So i agree, there's no way it is as deep as the 80's 90's era. But I do think it is better now than it was 10 years ago. Most teams have either a veteran backup who has significant starting experience or a young guy that might be better than the starting veteran.

by TomC :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 6:48pm

Given the level of competition in the NFCW and the fact that the Rams are really targeting next year or the year after anyway, I would be very surprised if they mortgaged draft picks or young talent to rent the 33rd- or 40th- or 48th-best QB in the NFL for a year.

by LionInAZ :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 12:42am

They already have that level of QB in Shaun Hill. Their problem is who will be the backup for Hill now.

by theslothook :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 7:01pm

I wonder, in light of the Bradford aND Rg3 injuries, what to make of that trade. WHo ended up with the better deal? To me, they should have taken Rg3.

by apocalipstick :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 7:24pm

And if your uncle had different plumbing, he'd be your aunt. Hindsight is always 20/20.

by theslothook :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 7:25pm

I think I was posing it more like, no matter how much you get in return, is it really wise to pass up a franchise qb when your own looks so murky?

by PaddyPat :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 7:33pm

I recall some years back (circa 2011) when the writers of Patriots Football weekly said that they felt that if they had a choice, Tom Brady would be their first pick at quarterback in the whole league, excepting perhaps Sam Bradford, who they thought had at least as much upside with a full illustrious career ahead of him.

You have to look at the past in context.

by Dired :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 9:25pm

I dunno, he may have been talented, but he was considered an injury concern at the time. Saying "if he stays healthy, he could be better than..." was one thing. But every year people say "if he can fix his throwing motion" or "if he can learn pocket presence" about rookies and those are always huge ifs. That Bradford's undoing was his knee and not his shoulder doesn't make that much difference in the long run.

by tuluse :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 9:38pm

Everything you wrote petty much applies to RG3 too. Every player is a risk, and young players are the biggest risks of all.

by Will Allen :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 10:21pm

I said at the time that the Rams were crazy to not draft Suh. There was almost zero chance that Suh, absent career threatening injury, would not be a multiple Pro Bowler, and defensive linemen are in many ways the next most important spots on the roster after qb. I never came close to having the sure-thing vibe about Bradford in the manner I did for, say, Andrew Luck.

by theslothook :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 10:27pm

but then if you're wrong, you "end up" with Jake Long or Chris Long instead of Matt Ryan. I think both the Rams and Dolphins regret that decision. I think you should defer to taking the qb unless its a huge reach. Will knows of which i speak.

by t.d. :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 2:57am

I might rather have Chris Long than Matt Ryan

by MC2 :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 3:27am

It depends on who your other option is at QB. If I were running the Rams right now, I'd jump at the chance to trade Long for Ryan.

by t.d. :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 3:45am

Obviously Matt Ryan has been better than Bradford to this point, and a quarterback has greater impact on a team's record than a single defensive end, but I'd rather have an A+ defensive line than a B+ quarterback, and if your goal is winning a championship, I think the line gets you closer

by MC2 :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 4:03am

Well, Bradford is done (at least with the Rams), so it's no longer Ryan vs. Bradford. It's Ryan vs. Shaun Hill/whoever they can acquire. Then, next year, it'll be Ryan vs. whoever they draft. Given the quality of the other defenses in that division, I don't think it's possible to win with a QB as mediocre as Hill, and there's no guarantee that whoever they draft will work out either. Ryan may not be on the "elite" level, but he's definitely good enough to win with.

As for their defensive line, they basically have an embarrassment of riches there. In fact, they're so deep there that even without Long, they would still have one of the best units in the league. So, I would rather have an A- defensive line and a B+ quarterback than an A+ defensive line and a C- quarterback.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 1:05pm

Yeah, given a choice between Matt Ryan (an at least above-average starter) or Shaun Hill (or, hey, take Kellen Clemens from prior years) plus Chris Long, how do you not opt for the better QB based on purely the fact the NFL is all about passing these days? I can compensate for substandard DE play in a variety of ways; stunts, blitzes, good coverage schemes. I can't compensate for bad QB play in any way.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 1:38pm

"I can't compensate for bad QB play in any way."

The 2006 Bears, 2009 Jets, and 2010 Jets beg to differ.

But I do agree with you in principle. It is much easier to find one good quarterback, then build an entire defense so good that it compensates for your crappy to mediocre quarterback.

by theslothook :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 3:47pm

Exactly. Long by himself doesn't make you a good defense. Hell long and Quinn by themselves don't make you a great defense. Atlanta last year with injured receivers and an execrable o line still finished 11th in pass dvoa. It might be a totally legitimate argument that had atlanta had a mediocre qb in place, they would have gone 1-15.

by theslothook :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 4:10am

I just don't see any reasoning for Chris Long over Ryan. JJ watt is the best defensive player hands down and his team went 2-14. I hate how the media overstates qbs, but ryan is just far more valuable than any defensive end.

by t.d. :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 4:24am

With potentially two HoF receivers and the best tight end ever, the Falcons' offense was just 'pretty good' over the past few years. There's an opportunity cost to settling for Matt Ryan (and the Falcons weren't much better than 2-14 last year)

by tuluse :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 2:35am

I can understand that argument, but it's just so hard to win in the NFL without QBing of at least a certain level, and it's very hard to get QBs of the caliber outside the draft. You're basically forced into drafting a QB unless you think he stinks.

by apocalipstick :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 7:34pm

At the time, Bradford's future did not look so murky. I would also not be so quick to assume that RG3 will regain his RoY form.

by theslothook :: Sun, 08/24/2014 - 8:28pm

I suppose. RG3 was also seen as a very strong qb prospect, if not quite the level that Luck was.

by fb29 :: Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:40am

this was meant to be in response to this comment:
Salary cap plays a big part in this. A backup of starting quality might just cost too much, or you have more money tied up in another position, like cornerback or left tackle. Depth at almost all positions in the NFL is pretty thin;

    the days of keeping pretty good players around in case your All-Pro starter goes down are long past.

      besides for the 49ers and Seahawks.

by scalett :: Fri, 09/18/2015 - 9:28am