Jason La Canfora from CBS Sports stopped by Earth City last week to watch the St. Louis Rams practice. Aaron Donald and the defense get their due in his writeup, but LaCanfora focused on the latest make-or-break year for quarterbackSam Bradford.
Bradford's been slinging the ball around through the first part of training camp, making some connections with his receivers and, more importantly, assuring the team about the status of his surgically repaired ACL.
From everything I've gathered, Bradford has been good -- not great -- in practices, which is to be expected at this point in his recovery. Expecting too much might be naïve -- even the great Tom Brady was not himself much of his first year back from an ACL tear -- but the Rams say they are pleased with their quarterback's progress. We'll see if this is the season Bradford and the Rams break out.
Ok, that's really nothing out of the ordinary. It's unreasonable to expect a quarterback coming off a missed season with an torn ACL to be absolutely perfect on every throw in every practice. What made this article so interesting was that LaCanfora was one of several national insiders reporting on the Rams infatuation with quarterbacks available in the 2014 NFL Draft, including Johnny Manziel.
La Canfora was one of several national reporters who said that the Rams had at least had some preliminary conversations about trading Bradford during the offseason.
So what's he saying this time?
More Manziel talk
He doubled down on past reports that the Rams had done a pretty intensive review of the Texas A&M quarterback in the lead up to the draft. He also added that had Manziel fallen a bit further than No. 22 (where the Browns drafted him), that he believes the Rams would have traded back up in the first round to get him.
Yahoo's investigative reporter Charles Robinson reported after the draft that the Rams would have taken more of an interest in Manziel had they received a serious trade offer for Bradford. Whether the Rams were willing to deal Bradford or not, his contract made it nearly impossible.
Again in 2015?
La Canfora added this tidbit about what the Rams might do in the 2015 NFL Draft:
I have a hard time thinking they won't be incredibly mindful of quarterbacks again as they prepare for the 2015 draft. It would be silly if they weren't.
He added that even if the Rams stick with Bradford for another season in 2015, the last year of his deal, they need to find a viable young guy to groom behind him. (Sorry, Garrett Gilbert fans, he's just too much of a project for the NFL).
The other possibility is an extension with Bradford, the "make" part of his make-or-break season. Andy Dalton's $115 million deal with the Bengals today gives you some idea about what that might cost compared to Bradford's career output so far.