Nick Saban’s attempted leap from college to the NFL was largely unsuccessfully because of a move the Miami Dolphins didn’t make, and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly didn’t want to follow the same path.
Back in 2006, the Dolphins had a chance to sign Drew Brees, who had recently undergone shoulder surgery, but team doctors suggested Miami pass on the quarterback. In hindsight, it’s easy to see the problem with that decision, especially considering the Dolphins ultimately signed Daunte Culpepper.
According to Alex Marvez of Fox Sports, Kelly wanted to avoid a similar failure, and in his mind, the best available option was the oft-injured Sam Bradford. Kelly said:
“The impact Drew had on the Saints was really what we studied. What would this league be like if Nick Saban had Drew Brees? Would Nick have ever gone back to Alabama?”
Bradford’s story is well-known by this point. The former No. 1 overall pick has torn his left ACL in each of the last two seasons, an injury that has limited him to only seven appearances since 2013.
However, if—and that’s an admittedly large if—Bradford can remain healthy, he possesses the talent for a special season. The Oklahoma product has tossed 59 touchdowns to 38 interceptions throughout his career, and Kelly’s high-efficiency offense should fit Bradford’s skills.
Considering the alternatives to Bradford this offseason—Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer, Josh McCown and Matt Schaub, among others—Kelly indeed grabbed the best quarterback on the market.
Now, it’s up to Bradford to hold up his end of the bargain.