Agent: Sam Bradford trade request was about finding better situation

ByPhil Sheridan ESPN logo
Friday, May 13, 2016

PHILADELPHIA -- Two weeks ago, agent Tom Condon was publicly lobbying for his client, Sam Bradford, to be traded from the Philadelphia Eagles. That effort caused a public backlash among Eagles fans and media analysts, including former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski.

In an appearance on ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith's Sirius XM show, Condon took responsibility for the holdout and explained the strategy behind it.

When the Eagles traded up for the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft and made it clear they did so to take a quarterback, Condon tried an end-around. Two months after negotiating a two-year, $35 million contract for Bradford with the Eagles, Condon targeted the Denver Broncos as the landing spot for him.

At that point, Condon told Smith, "we're then aware that we're short term in Philadelphia. They've made a business decision. Our next business decision is this: Can we improve our situation?

"And the Denver Broncos certainly needed a quarterback at the time. Or it looked like they could need a quarterback at the time. They've got Mark Sanchez. Good guy, good player. But was there a chance that we could get there? And so Sam withdrew from the workouts and voiced his displeasure, and at that point the desired result occurred. The Denver Broncos engaged with Philadelphia."

The Broncos had lost Peyton Manning to retirement and Brock Osweiler to free agency. They acquired Sanchez in a trade with the Eagles, but were looking to defend their Super Bowl title with an upgrade at quarterback.

The Eagles reportedly asked for more than the Broncos were willing to part with, and no trade was finalized. In the draft, the Eagles took Carson Wentz with the No. 2 pick, and the Broncos took Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch later in the first round.

"When [the Broncos] couldn't make a deal and then drafted the quarterback in the first round, at that point they are no longer interested in Sam," Condon said. "And so our next best move is for Sam to go back to Philadelphia and learn the system, play like he's capable, and I think play really well this year and potentially next year, and then be available for either trade or free agency."

Condon's explanation fits the timeline of events. And it answers at least one of the criticisms leveled by critics of Bradford's trade request. Many fans and media analysts ripped Bradford for not being willing to compete for the starting job.

But Bradford missed only two weeks of light workouts and meetings. There was no competition at that point. The threat to skip all of the voluntary workouts was part of the strategy to convince the Eagles to trade him. Once the trade proved impossible, Bradford returned to work. He will compete with Wentz and Chase Daniel in training camp.

"Being afraid to compete -- that's just not the reality," Condon said. "The reality is, when you go from [pick No.] 13 to 2, and you spend a lot of draft choices instead of drafting players that are going to go in there and hopefully improve your supporting cast, and you take a guy who is not going to play for a year or two, maybe -- you've said all that you need to say."

Condon said that Bradford should not have a problem with his teammates after his brief holdout.

"The players in the locker room completely understand," Condon said. "And so does Sam. They're doing what's best for the Eagles. I'm trying to do what's best for Sam."

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