February 13, 2016
On Super Bowl Sunday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported via Twitter that the Philadelphia Eagles did not plan on using their franchise tag on Sam Bradford.
Eagles are not expected to use franchise tag on QB Sam Bradford, per league sources, though they still have some interest in re-signing him.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 7, 2016
Shortly thereafter, several local Eagles beat writers reported via sources that the Eagles had not yet made that decision. That was mistaken by some as Schefter's report being shot down.
The first day that teams are permitted to use their franchise tag on a player is February 16th, or next Tuesday. The last day they can use it is March 1st. With the quarterback position being by far the most important one for the Eagles to figure out this offseason, it would be unrealistic to believe they don't already know whether or not they're going to use the franchise tag on Bradford.
On Thursday last week, Doug Pederson had a 17-minute sit-down interview with 6abc's Jeff Skversky. A variety of topics were covered, with Bradford obviously being a focus of the conversation.
"Right now Sam Bradford is here," said Pederson. "We know he’s a free agent. That’s a position I’ve said all along that we continue to evaluate. We have to make the best decision possible for the Philadelphia Eagles. Going forward, if he’s our guy, then he’s our guy and we make a run with him. If he decides to go elsewhere in free agency, then we’ve got a couple of guys that we can bring in here or use the guys on our roster and push that way."
Except, Bradford cannot just "decide" to go elsewhere in free agency if the Eagles were to use the franchise tag on him. He would be under the Eagles' control and couldn't go anywhere unless the Eagles traded him or rescinded the tag.
Pederson continued, again using the "if he's our guy" preface. "If he’s our guy then he’s our guy and we’ll go forward with that, but I do know that in this day in age in free agency, and the dollars and cents get a little higher each and every year, being a former player, you can’t fault a player for getting an opportunity to become one of the top-paid players in the National Football League, and that’s where Sam’s at right now."
Pederson has been the Eagles' head coach for less than a month, so I'm not sure that I or anyone else can claim to have a great read on him in an interview setting, in terms of being able to strip away the "BS" from the truth. However, his answers above sound a lot like a guy who already knows Bradford is going to be able to test the open market.
Eventually, Pederson was asked whether the Eagles would use the tag on Bradford, and he said he "honestly" wasn't going to comment.
"I’m honestly not going to comment on that at this time," he said. "I’m going to default that to Howie. I’ll put that on his plate, but yeah, that’s where we’re at and I just can’t reveal that information at this time."
I'm "honestly" thinking Bradford is going to hit the open market when free agency begins March 9th.
Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski
Add some PhillyVoice RSS feeds.