Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford knows his role with the team. The former number one pick has embraced his role as the mentor of Josh Rosen.
Most employees are not very keen on helping bring along the person who will one day, in all likelihood take their job. Sam Bradford is a rare exception to this.
The Arizona Cardinals quarterback signed a one year, $20 million deal with the franchise at the start of this year’s free agency period. The former number one overall pick once again found himself a large payday in what could be the season he brings new life to his injury-riddled career. This was the expectation at least.
With the team’s previous quarterback, Carson Palmer, now happily retired, the opportunity was there for Bradford to become the leader of the next phase of Cardinals football. Signing just a one year deal to prove his worth — and ability to stay healthy most of all — it was important that Bradford performs to the best of his abilities if he wishes to retain his job in the coming years.
Bradford’s situation quickly changed on April 26 when the team selected former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen with the 10th pick in the draft. After trading up for the player who will surely be the future of the franchise, the Cardinals made Bradford’s role with the team clear. He will be the bridge quarterback that will lead the team until Rosen is ready to take over.
Some quarterbacks do not take kindly to their franchise bringing in young competition for their job, but not Sam Bradford. Instead of deciding to give his young protege the cold shoulder as some veterans do, Bradford has embraced his role as Rosen’s mentor and elected to help him adapt to the NFL, however, he can.
Bradford understands that he is not the team’s long-term plan at quarterback and has shown no animosity for it.
“I’m an open book, ask me anything. I’ll give you everything I got, Bradford told Rosen, via AZ Central. “I’m more than happy to help and just try to show them the way that I work, the way that I prepare, and hopefully they take something from that.”
Barring a scenario where Rosen comes into camp and looks too exceptional to not put on the field, Bradford will likely start the season as the Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback. In a league that has been seeing its rookie quarterbacks thrown into the fire quicker and quicker as of late, the Cardinals will hope to take the opposite approach.
If things go as planned and Bradford is able to remain healthy — which admittedly, is a huge if — one can expect to see Rosen’s rookie year follow a similar trajectory to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Last season Mahomes sat on the bench and learned from then-Chiefs quarterback, Alex Smith.
In the final game of the regular season, Mahomes finally received his opportunity to show what he can do as a starter as the team elected to bench Smith, saving him for the upcoming playoff run the team planned to embark upon. Mahomes did not fail to impress in this opportunity.
While the Cardinals may not make the playoffs, Rosen should still see a similar opportunity be awarded to him in the back half of the season. With Bradford’s injury history, it is almost to be expected that he will miss time at some point in the season. Even if Bradford managed to remain healthy for the full season, if the team is out of playoff contention they would likely give Rosen an opportunity to start several games in the final weeks of the season.
Until the opportunity to take the field is presented to Rosen, he will be on the bench. While this may sound less than ideal for the player, as he likely wishes to get on the field as soon as possible as most players do, it is what’s best for him. With the aid of Bradford, Rosen will learn what it takes to be an NFL quarterback next season, even if he doesn’t play a snap of meaningful football.