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Rams, Vikings exploring Sam Bradford trade?

The rumor mill is working overtime this week, mostly around the Rams and their situation at quarterback. Will they deal incumbent starter Sam Bradford? One report suggests they've explored the possibility.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The rumor mill churns on, and it seems to be focusing on the St. Louis Rams and their quarterback situation. Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports suggested Monday morning on CBS Sports 920's The Morning After show that the Rams and the Minnesota Vikings have had discussions about trading Sam Bradford.

From the audio (starts at the 14-minute mark):

There are people in the league who believe there have been discussions with the Vikings. Rams people have denied any conversations whatsoever. The bottom line is if they don't take a quarterback, they're not trading Sam Bradford. There's so much uncertainty in this draft that it'd be difficult to put the horse before the cart ... all these things are tied together.

The Rams are going to talk to a lot of teams between now and whenever their first pick is ... can continue to gauge the market.

LaCanfora then goes onto spell out a scenario in which the QB-needy Vikings get left out of the QB pickings in the draft, and decide to swing a deal with the Rams. That part's purely hypothetical. And the people in the league he's heard about Rams-Vikings trade talk from could be off or misreading the situation.

This goes along with the rumors about the Rams' interest in Johnny Manziel. Obviously they aren't trading Bradford if they don't draft Manziel. And if they do draft Manziel, they'd almost have to trade Bradford, at least if some team was willing to make a suitable offer. On the other hand, you could also make the case that they hang onto Bradford one more year and redshirt Manziel. Bradford and his agent might feel otherwise.

So let's ask the hypothetical, could the Rams trade Bradford? That depends on what they want in return. His contract has pretty sizable chuck of change left on his contract and cap hits of $17.6 million this year and $16.58 million next year. That's not easy for a team to swallow, and could translate into a mid-round pick, at best, in return for a QB with that much left on his deal and having never really done much in four seasons.

Any team acquiring Bradford would almost have to restructure, spreading that money out over a longer period of time. The good news for any potentially interested team is that Bradford's guaranteed money, all $50 million of it, has already been paid. The dead money left against the cap after this season would be pretty minimal.

I really don't know if I'm buying all of this. This is a team that's actually been pretty conservative with its roster moves, in terms of taking chances. I don't really believe anything anyone says this time of year, but the Rams' outward commitment to Bradford does seem to suggest they at least plan on giving him one more shot in 2014, deciding after that whether or not to find another QB.