Analysis: Sam Bradford’s Fit In Arizona

With Carson Palmer’s retirement, Arizona sought out veteran quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon, inking Bradford to a surprising 1-year $20M deal with $15M guaranteed, and Glennon to a 2-year $8M contract to act as his veteran backup. While the signing of Bradford may not come as a surprise given his upside and ability to hit receivers, his inability to stay healthy makes his cap number surprising. But is Bradford a good fit in Arizona? Let’s break it down.

Al Holcomb steps in as Arizona’s new Offensive Coordinator, coming from Carolina with new Head Coach Steve Wilks. It’s hard to say how the offense in Arizona will change, but given the continuity of personnel and polarizing difference at the quarterback position between Carolina and Arizona, we should expect Arizona’s offense to remain largely similar in scheme to last season.

Arizona ran more plays (719) with the quarterback under center than any other team in 2017. Over 53% of their offense came from these formations, and when their quarterback was under center they threw (223 times) more than any other team. Bradford is well respected in the league for his ability to release the ball quickly, at times averaging two seconds from snap to release in 2016. Which plays well in Arizona’s offensive design.

With a versatile back like David Johnson, defenses will have to respect the run, and this will allow Bradford to run more play action while under center, giving a physical receiver like Larry Fitzgerald the opportunity to leverage five yards of contact and create separation for a quick hit.

Last season, Arizona threw 505 short passes, accounting for nearly 37% of their total offensive plays, generating 3050 yards. Bradford, who set an NFL record completing 71.6% of his passes in 2016 will benefit from a west coast offensive design in Arizona that allows for him to release the ball quickly to receivers running short and intermediate routes. If he can continue to maintain a high passing efficiency there’s no reason to believe that Bradford can’t manipulate his ball security and a well above average running game to keep Arizona competitive in an improving NFC West.

FA Signing Grade: B

A prove it deal is perfect for Bradford who may be acting as a stopgap for a possible rookie draft selection at 15. But, the cap number of $20M for an injury-prone quarterback who missed all of last year’s contests may be high. Either way, Bradford was at one time one of the highest rated quarterback prospects and has proven that when healthy he can be an effective NFL signal caller.

Graphics credit to NFL Savants.

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