Chip Kelly wants Sam Bradford back with Eagles in 2016

By Jesse Reed

Chip Kelly wants Sam Bradford to quarterback the Philadelphia Eagles next year, and for many years to come.

Despite the quarterback’s poor start, Kelly is convinced Bradford is the long-term answer at the most important position on the field.

Many thought Kelly’s decision to acquire Bradford was nothing more than a ploy to make a deal to move up and snag his old pupil from Oregon, Marcus Mariota. However, the head coach has always maintained he wanted Bradford all along, from the moment the Eagles landed him until Monday’s press conference.

“We’ve always wanted Sam here,” Kelly said, per Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com “We wouldn’t have traded for him if we thought he was going to be here for a year.”

Kelly pointed to Bradford’s recent improvements during the second half of the season. Since Week 7, he’s eighth out of 37 qualified NFL quarterbacks with a 97.5 passer rating, per Frank, and he’s thrown five touchdowns and just one interception in his last four games.

The coach also pointed to the need for quarterbacks to develop into one system in order to fully realize their potential. He believes Bradford will only continue getting better as he gets more and more comfortable with what he’s doing, which certainly has proven to be true for all the other quarterbacks who find long-term success in this league.

“Name a quarterback who’s playing well right now and then look at how many years he’s been in that system,” Kelly said. “Very rarely is it a first-year player that does that. …Andy Dalton’s playing at a really high level, but now what year is he in Cincinnati’s system? (fifth) Look at how well Cam (Newton) is playing and look what year that is for him in Carolina. It’s five years.”

Kelly also went on to note how Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have all been entrenched in their systems for long periods of time, leading to outstanding long-term success.

It’s hard to find capable quarterbacks in this league, and Kelly believes he has one in Bradford. The quarterback is heading into the 2016 offseason without a contract, though, as his current deal runs out at the end of the current campaign. It will be interesting to see what kind of contract Philadelphia offers him, and if he ends up testing the market.