Just like with the NFL MVP Award in the now pass-happy NFL, a quarterback usually wins the Comeback Player of the Year honors. What are the chances new Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford is that guy in 2015? We examine with 5Dimes NFL odds.
Kelly Can Get Best Out Of Bradford
Chip Kelly made some very questionable moves this offseason, as he tends to do, but I personally loved the deal sending former Eagles starting quarterback Nick Foles to St. Louis for Bradford, the former Heisman winner, No. 1 overall pick and NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Kelly somehow turned Foles into Peyton Manning in 2013 when Foles, a 2012 third-round pick by the Eagles out of Arizona, threw for 27 touchdowns against just two interceptions in 13 games in 2013. Now, that kind of touchdown-to-interception return is simply not attainable in the NFL. So you knew there was going to be massive regression from Foles in 2014. And there was. He played only eight games due to injury, his completion percentage dropped from 64.0 percent the year before to 59.8 and he had 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. I think that's more representative of who Foles is.
So rather than see Foles lose even more value this season, and he might not have beaten out Mark Sanchez for the starting job, Kelly got Bradford back in the March trade. True, Bradford is set to make way more than Foles this season (around $13 million to $1.5 million) but the talent was there. Bradford never had much skill-position talent around him in St. Louis and of course was hampered big time by injuries (he was one season at Oklahoma too), including tearing an ACL twice. Bradford's record as a starter in St. Louis was 18-30-1. In his rookie season, when Bradford went 7-9, the Rams' offensive coordinator was Pat Shurmur, who is now Kelly's offensive coordinator in Philly. Bradford has played just 49 of a possible 80 regular-season games in his five NFL seasons because of his injuries.
Apparently Bradford, who is the Philadelphia Eagles' highest-paid player this season, has shown enough already that the team is exploring a contract extension with him. It might not be a long-term deal but at least one that wouldn't see Bradford's contract expire after this season. That seems premature to extend Bradford without seeing him stay on the field, but Kelly brushed that off.
"Peyton Manning switched teams because of an injury,'' Kelly said. "Drew Brees switched teams because of an injury. So we went down that path."
Peterson One To Beat For CPOY
5Dimes has a few Bradford props. He is -825 to be the Week 1 starter in Atlanta, with any other quarterback at +475 NFL odds. Bradford is going to beat out Sanchez and Tim Tebow barring injury. That's a fact. To be the Comeback Player of the Year, Bradford is a +1200 second-favorite with Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is the heavy +400 favorite. A quarterback has won the award in eight of the past 13 years, although Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski did last season.
There's really no tangible definition for a Comeback Player of the Year. Bradford missed all of last season injured and Peterson played in only the season opener and was suspended the rest of the way. I'd consider them more comeback-worthy than Palmer, who played in six games for Arizona before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
You know the Eagles are going to put up numbers on offense with Kelly's up-tempo system -- which is similar to the one Bradford thrived in at Oklahoma. I do wonder if the Eagles will run a bit more with the additions of DeMarco Murray, the reigning NFL rushing king, and Ryan Mathews at tailback. Plus the Eagles lost leading receiver Jeremy Maclin so I'm not sure they have a true No. 1 there now. Riley Cooper, second-year Jordan Matthews and rookie Nelson Agholor look to be the three main guys. They also have Darren Sproles to catch passes out of the backfield.
5Dimes also lists Bradford at +9000 to lead the NFL in passing yards and +2000 to win NFL MVP.
NFL Free Picks: Could Bradford win the Comeback award. No question. I just don't trust him to play more than, say, 12 games. And that won't cut it. I don't recommend any Bradford props other than him starting Week 1.