Fourth in a series of unpredictable developments that have sent Eagles fans happily to Minneapolis in the dead of winter. Nearly six decades without a championship does strange things to people.
Part IV: Trading Sam Bradford
The spectacular 2016 rookie year enjoyed by Carson Wentz almost did not happen. In fact, if not for a freak and awful injury a thousand miles away, Wentz might have been stapled to the Eagles bench for the season. At least that was the Eagles plan throughout the 2016 summer training camp.
The Eagles were prepared to go with disgruntled veteran Sam Bradford as their starter and Chase Daniel as the backup. But then Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a dislocated knee and a torn ACL during a non-contact drill in Eden Prairie, Minn. a week before the start of the 2016 regular season. It was so gruesome, the Vikings stopped practice after 25 minutes.
Hopes had been high in Minnesota, which had won its first division crown in six years the season before. The Vikes, who are becoming what the Chicago Cubs used to be in baseball, nearly beat Seattle in the playoffs except for one of the all-time shanked field goals. Now, here they were without a quarterback.
When Howie Roseman traded Bradford to Minnesota, he solved three problems.
One, he cleared up what could have been a divisive quarterback room. Bradford already had shown his displeasure with Wentz’s arrival by missing voluntary offseason workouts.
Two, the move virtually forced Pederson to play the kid. What, you’d rather have Chase Daniel?
Three, he got the Eagles a first-round pick in exchange for Bradford. A residual benefit was that the 2017 draft was to be held in Philadelphia, and the Eagles were looking at the possibility of not having a pick to strut around in front of the football world because they had traded it to Cleveland in order to get Wentz.
That pick turned out to be Derek Barnett, whose strip-sack was one of the key first-half plays of this year’s NFC championship game rout over the very same Vikings.
Wentz rewrote the Eagles rookie record book in 2016. Passing yards, completion percentage, touchdowns, you name it. Even went a respectable 7-9 and became the first Eagles quarterback in eight years to start all 16 games. Playing as extensively as he did in 2016 gave him a head start for 2017, when he posted an 11-2 record before he himself sustained a season-ending knee injury.
Call it karma. Call it spooky. Call it just one of those things. Wentz put the Eagles in position to make the playoff run that has allowed them to be in Sunday’s game against the Patriots. If they win, you can call the Eagles champions, and that’s something they haven’t been called in more than 57 years.
Up next: The Core Improves
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