For better or worse, no general manager runs his squad more like a fantasy team than the Eagles' Howie Roseman. On Saturday, it was for the better.
Philadelphia's deal of Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 fourth-round pick makes two NFC teams more compelling this year. It gives the Vikings a fighting chance of a playoff run in their new stadium and gives Eagles fans a chance to watch No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz play all season. It is the type of blockbuster we don't see often enough, although Roseman was involved in another recent trade involving a starting quarterback when the Eagles swapped Nick Foles for Bradford on the first day of free agency in 2015.
Philadelphia wound up getting a pretty nice return on that trade, which feels like it happened during another era of football. When you run your team like Roseman, change is the only constant.
Let's look at some winners and losers from the deal:
Howie Roseman: The Eagles general manager's winding quarterback odyssey, lovingly detailed by Kevin Patra, has a happy ending. That two-year, $35 million contract the team gave Bradford in February doesn't look so crazy after getting a first-round pick back for him. It's worth noting that the Eagles paid Bradford an $11 million signing bonus essentially for offseason practices, so the Vikings "only" owe Bradford $24 million over the next two seasons.
Still, Roseman was vindicated by his belief that Bradford was an asset even after the team gave up a boatload of picks to draft Carson Wentz. Roseman is not afraid to make big splashes, big mistakes and big changes to the plan when the opportunity presents itself. The Eagles would have been crazy to pass on this offer after the Vikings called considering they have Wentz and Chase Daniel in place.
Vikings ownership: No one wants to say it, but the Vikings did not want to move into a beautiful new stadium with 16 games of Shaun Hill on tap. Bradford is not the fan favorite that Teddy Bridgewater is, but this gives the organization renewed life heading into the 2016 season, as Marc Sessler wrote in his column. It remains a team built to compete for titles on defense and Adrian Peterson. They have a proven quarterback tutor in Norv Turner. If he can't get Bradford to finally fulfill his potential, no one will.
Pat Shurmur's influence: Minnesota's tight ends coach was Bradford's coordinator when Bradford was drafted in St. Louis and his coordinator in Philadelphia. Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune writes that Shurmur played a huge role in acquiring Bradford.
"The negotiations began Friday night and intensified -- but only because of new tight ends coach Pat Shurmur, who coached Bradford in St. Louis and in Philadelphia," Craig wrote. "It was Shurmur who convinced the organization that Bradford had the intelligence and the work ethic to learn Norv Turner's offense quickly."
A year spent rooting for a short-term starting quarterback is a wasted year as a fan. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports that Wentz will be the starter once he's healthy, and that could be as early as Week 1. Then again, another winner here would be ...
The Cleveland Browns: That first-round pick they own from Philadelphia is more likely to be near the top of the draft now. I still wouldn't rule out the Eagles competing or even winning a diluted NFC East because their front seven on defense has a chance to be that good. But this does not help Philadelphia's chances. All offseason, we read that Bradford was superior in practice to Wentz and Daniel. The same was true in the preseason. The Eagles are trading the guy they decided would give them the best chance to win.
Not a good trade for ...
Teddy Bridgewater optimism: We hope this deal doesn't say too much about Bridgewater's ability to recover from his devastating knee injury. The reality is that no one knows how Bridgewater's rehabilitation will go at this stage, and the Vikings have to plan for every scenario. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said that Bradford's contract, which runs through 2017, played a big role.
"That played a huge part in this deal," Spielman said. "We have Bradford under contract for 2 years."
In short: This might not be just a short-term fix.
NFL analysts: Thousands of articles were written after the Bridgewater injury and a Bradford trade wasn't mentioned seriously in any of them. This deal caught the insiders flat footed. (Those same insiders should be worried about competition from Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who alluded to the trade on Twitter before it ever came out. He deleted the tweet.)
The NFC wild card field: Green Bay should be seen as the favorite in the NFC North. But the acquisition of Bradford at least gives the Vikings a better chance to push for a playoff spot.