Happy Labor Day everyone. Since I do not consider writing these rants as “labor”, I do not feel that it would be proper for me to take the day off. And so, I press on…
Over the weekend, the Vikings and the Eagles consummated a trade involving a starting QB. Such deals – when they happen – usually happen in the off-season. In rare circumstances – one of which I will mention later – they happen in mid-season. I cannot recall a trade like this happening in the time between the final exhibition game and the first game of the season.
The Vikings acquired Sam Bradford clearly motivated to do so by the non-contact injury suffered by their starting QB, Terry Bridgewater in a recent practice session. The Eagles received the Vikings’ 2017 first-round draft pick plus a conditional 4th round pick in 2018. [Aside: I believe the “conditions” here are that if the Vikes make it to the NFC Conference Championship Game the pick becomes a third-round pick and if the Vikes make it to the Super Bowl, the pick becomes a second-round pick.]
In a way, this trade makes sense for both teams. The Vikings made the playoffs last year and were eliminated when they missed a chip shot (27-yard) field goal in the final seconds of their game with the Seahawks. They aspired to big things this year and then they lost their starting QB to a freak injury. Shaun Hill was the next man up on their depth chart with Taylor Heinicke behind Hill. In case Taylor Heinicke is not a name that comes immediately to mind, here is a short bio:
Played QB for Old Dominion University; signed as an undrafted free agent with the Vikings after the 2015 Draft; no game experience; starting the 2016 season on the injured list due to a bizarre injury to his foot back in July.
The bottom line is that the Vikings needed to add a QB – or two – to play ahead of or behind Shaun Hill.
Meanwhile the Eagles’ braintrust clearly recognized that the team was not going anywhere in 2016. They had given up a lot to trade up to select Carson Wentz in the 2016 Draft and Sam Bradford at QB was a “holding action” at best. Hence the swap…
Usually, it takes a while for a QB to fit into an offense; that is the reason that teams have training camps and Organized Team Activities and the like. Bradford will have until Sunday – a total of 8 days – to blend into the Vikings system. I can only recall one situation where a team tried to make something like this happen and the results were not pretty.
About 5 years ago, the Oakland Raiders were playing well in the early part of the season when their starting QB, Jason Campbell, suffered a season-ending injury. Meanwhile, Carson Palmer and the Bengals were in a spitting contest; Palmer threatened to retire and would not play for or with the Bengals. The Raiders opted to trade for Palmer rather than go forward with Kyle Boller for the rest of the year. They game the Bengals a first-round pick and a second-round pick for Palmer.
Let me just say that the trade was a disaster for the Raiders. Palmer did not take hold of the system there and the draft picks lost hurt the team down the road. Clearly it was not all Palmer’s fault; after he found his way to the Arizona Cardinals, he has had plenty of success there. However, the Raiders missed the playoffs – and missed having a winning season – after the trade and then the Raiders tanked in the next year. This is the cautionary note for the Vikings…
Meanwhile, the Eagles now say they want to play Carson Wentz at QB right out of the gate. To that I say:
What’s the hurry?
The predicate for all of this appears several paragraphs above. The Eagles are going nowhere in 2016 even if the ghost of John Unitas returns to Earth and leads the squad. The start of the NFL season is always a fun time; obviously, this year will be no exception in Minnesota and in Philly…
Oh, one more thing about the trade… The Eagles’ QB depth chart as of this morning has Carson Wentz and Chase Daniel as #1 and #2 in whichever order pleases you. They do not have a 3rd QB on the roster.
Since I mentioned the Vikings above, they will open this season in their new playpen – US Bank Stadium. The team has sold out the stadium for the year and it has sold out all of its suites and club level seats. In addition, they sold 50,000 PSLs ranging in price from $500 to $10K adding another $125M to the revenue stream. Fear not for the financial state of the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings or Zygi Wilf…
Noting that the real NFL season has yet to begin, consider that there is joy among the networks that have television rights to NFL games. Before the season begins, the networks have reportedly sold a little more than $2.5B in advertising slots for the upcoming games. Each network with this sort of inventory to sell reports that sales are up compared to last year at this time AND that commercial slots are selling at higher prices than they did last year.
Last year, you must recall that Draft Kings and FanDuel saturated football telecasts with the three or four ads that they produced. According to reports, those two companies spent a combined $150M on ads last year. This year, those two companies will supposedly only do a few “spot ads”. That means two things to me:
1. We can give thanks to the football gods that we will be spared those stupid repetitive ads this year.
2. There are plenty of potential sponsors out there who are willing – even anxious – to get their message out during NFL telecasts.
Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times that brings together the world of politics and the world of sports:
“Comedian Argus Hamilton, looking forward to another NFL season: ‘Football is for people who can’t stand politics but still enjoy watching millionaires destroy each other.’”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………