Are the Cardinals unfairly taking money from Sam Bradford?

Arizona Cardinals

Sam Bradford has been dropped to No. 3 on the depth chart, but are the Arizona Cardinals being fair about it?

It was an odd way to make an NFL debut, but Josh Rosen entered last week’s game against the Chicago Bears in the final minutes to try to lead the Arizona Cardinals to a victory. Sam Bradford was not injured, which in itself is notable, but Rosen will have the starting job for the rest of the season barring injury.

Bradford is joined by Mike Glennon behind Rosen on the depth chart. Bradford is far more expensive though, with a $15 million base salary this year along with $5 million in per-game roster bonuses. So the Cardinals have an incentive to not have Bradford active on game days, to the tune of $312,500 a week for the next 13 games ($4.06 million in total over the rest of the season).

Speculation about Bradford being dropped to No. 3 on the depth chart during the week came with affirmation of the move for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Bradford has averaged just 5.0 yards per attempt and accounted for six turnovers in almost three full games this year, but he’s obviously a better quarterback than Glennon. So the drop to being the inactive No. 3 quarterback until further notice is not merit-based, though the Cardinals can’t be entirely faulted for seeing a way to save a chunk of money.

The prospect of losing a shade over $4 million this year, relatively speaking, may not be meaningful to Bradford. He was the last No. 1 overall pick to get huge guaranteed money in a rookie contract, and he has made $129 million in his career despite playing in just 83 games and losing big chunks of multiple seasons to injury.

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Based on the idea players who may have interest in playing for the Cardinals in the future are watching, it’s not a good look to take money out of Bradford’s pocket when by all accounts he’s healthy. It’s also worth wondering if, barring a trade or a change in the situation over the next month, if Bradford might consider retirement at season’s end.

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