With rumors swirling that Colin Kaepernick wants out of San Francisco, the 49ers are in need of a viable starting quarterback. While Blaine Gabbert performed adequately at the end of the 2015 season, he is probably not the answer that 49ers’ fans want over the long-term. With Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford ready to hit free agency, there is a chance that Chip Kelly brings him in to be the new starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers.
Contrary to popular belief, Kelly does not need a mobile quarterback to run his offense. Despite not being able to run, Kelly also likes Bradford and his skill-set. Before the 2015 season, he traded Nick Foles and a second-round draft pick to the St. Louis Rams for Bradford and other draft considerations. While many have speculated this trade was made in order to gain more assets to flip to the Tennessee Titans for Marcus Mariota, there is no real evidence of it being true.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, there were rumors last week coming out from trusted leagues sources that the 49ers were interested in Bradford. While fans did not want to believe it, there appears to be more evidence of it becoming a reality. Peter King of Sports Illustrated told KNBR that he thinks Bradford will be the 49ers quarterback next season.
In addition to King, other trusted league sources have also stated that the 49ers are interested in Bradford.
Now that Kaepernick is probably out of the picture, it is looking more and more likely that Kelly may want to go with a guy that he is familiar with. While the Eagles had a poor 2015 season, Bradford played well over the final eight games. Awful defensive play, excessive dropped passes, and problems in the locker room all contributed to the Eagles’ failures in the weak NFC East. While Bradford struggled in the first half of the season, it was to be expected coming into a new system. He was also fresh off of another ACL tear.
One concern about Bradford is his injury risk. With multiple ACL tears at only 28-years-old, he is riskier than most other quarterbacks. While it was only one season, he did prove in 2015 that the ACL was no longer a problem. He did miss two games with a shoulder injury though, but he appeared to be fine after his return.
So how does Kelly really feel about his former quarterback? Before he was fired by the Eagles, Kelly spoke to the media regarding his feelings about Bradford and a possible long-term commitment, as reported by Bleeding Green Nation.
“We’ve always wanted Sam here. We wouldn’t have traded for him if we thought he was going to be here for a year. I think Sam, as a whole, has progressed as the season has gone along. I know it takes a long while to play quarterback in this league. There’s so many different things you have to get. And when we got Sam, we knew with any quarterback it’s going to take time. Name any quarterback playing at a really high level now and they’ve been playing in the same system for years, not for months. And that’s Sam’s case is. He’s just been playing in our system for months.”
Could it all have been coach-speak from Kelly? Perhaps, but Kelly usually does not give glowing reviews to players that he does not like. Even when Nick Foles was putting up historic numbers for the Eagles, Kelly never really committed to him or gave him honest praise. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Kelly did not gush about Kaepernick either. Instead of giving him the focus in his introductory press conference, Kelly brought up Gabbert numerous times.
According to Sports Illustrated, Bradford is not exactly crazy about the city of Philadelphia. While money is the most important thing to most NFL players, it does not sound like Bradford would choose Philadelphia over another team with a similar offer.
Rumors regarding Sam Bradford and the San Francisco 49ers will continue to come out over the next two months, but it appears there is some real truth to them. While Kelly does not have the personnel power that he had in Philadelphia, his voice as the head coach clearly carries some weight. If the Eagles do not lock Bradford up, look for Kelly and the San Francisco 49ers to make a strong push for him.
[Photo by Elsa/Getty Images]