Quarterback Sam Bradford and the Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to terms on a two-year contract, the team announced Tuesday.
According to reports, the deal is worth $36 million, with $26 million guaranteed. That should keep the team flexible enough under this year’s salary cap to pursue the free agents it is seeking and perhaps be able to re-sign cornerback Nolan Carroll and safety Walter Thurmond.
The team has scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. Thursday, when Bradford will answer questions about his decision to accept the offer.
Bradford, 28, was acquired by the Eagles in a 2015 offseason trade with the St. Louis Rams. In his first season in Philadelphia, he started 14 games and completed 346 of 532 attempts for a career-high 3,725 yards, the fourth-highest yardage total in franchise history. Bradford’s 346 completions and his career-high 65.03 completion percentage were Eagles single-season records.
The No. 1 overall selection of the Rams in the 2010 NFL Draft, Bradford was named the 2010 NFL offensive rookie of the year by The Associated Press after he notched an NFL rookie-record 354 completions while recording the second-most passing yards by a rookie in NFL history at the time, 3,512.
A three-year starter at Oklahoma, Bradford finished his Sooners career with 8,403 passing yards and 88 touchdowns. In 2008, he became just the second underclassman to win the Heisman Trophy.
Bradford missed the last half of the 2013 season and all of 2014 with a twice-torn anterior cruciate ligament. Although his knee held up in 2015, he was knocked out of a game and then missed the next two starts with a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury. The Eagles lost all three en route to a 7-9 record, two games behind NFC East champion Washington.
On the surface, the contract appears to be more of a compromise for Bradford, who was seeking much more guaranteed money, than the Eagles, who essentially were able to get him at a steeply discounted two-season franchise tag.
The 4 p.m. deadline for applying the non-exclusive franchise tag on Tuesday came without the Eagles using it on any of their players. Had they applied it to Bradford, they would have had to guarantee him just under $20 million for 2016.
Getting Bradford re-signed before the start of free agency in less than two weeks was huge for the Eagles, who are believed to be interested in re-signing Carroll and Thurmond. Both have expiring contracts and are coming off career seasons despite playing in a defense that was overextended by playing the most snaps in the NFL in 2015.
It also relieves the pressure of possibly matching a rookie head coach with a rookie starting quarterback, which is something the Eagles wanted to avoid after hiring Doug Pederson to replace Chip Kelly.
Pederson hinted at the NFL Scouting Combine last week that the Eagles still would consider drafting a quarterback even if they retained Bradford. And with a two-year deal being struck instead of something longer term, as was expected, the urgency may be higher.
Whatever the case, the Eagles also will be looking to upgrade their offensive line and add to their defensive line depth in the draft. Executive vice president Howie Roseman said the team plans to be active in the free-agent market as well. Look for the Eagles to add an offensive lineman and a safety if they cannot re-sign Thurmond.
By the end of the 2015, it was clear Bradford had earned the support of his teammates, who openly lobbied for the team to bring him back.
On Tuesday, some reacted on social media.