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Sam Bradford Short-Term -- And Long-Term?

Posted Mar 27, 2018

With draft still a month away, Wilks talks of Bradford's role beyond 2018

Quarterback Sam Bradford will be the Cardinals' starter in 2018, and perhaps beyond.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Sam Bradford is the Cardinals’ starting quarterback for 2018, and Mike Glennon is the backup.

That was obvious even before coach Steve Wilks confirmed it Tuesday during the annual coaches breakfast at the NFL league meetings. Beyond that, though, comes unknown for the team’s future at the position.

“Looking at the short term, Sam has come in and I think he’ll do a tremendous job for us,” Wilks said. “Hopefully it turns into long-term, to be honest.”

Both Bradford and Glennon signed through 2019. Most expect the Cardinals to come out of the draft with a quarterback, but when in the draft – and how promising that player would be as an answer – is a significant question mark.

Choosing at 15, and with the draft expected to be top heavy with as many as four quarterbacks possible to be drafted in the top 10, the Cardinals might have to maneuver up to get a quarterback they want.

Drafting a quarterback in the second or third round – or trading down in the first – might be a possibility, although the number of quarterback-needy teams could push as many as six quarterbacks into the first round and give the Cardinals competition.

Wilks acknowledged he would prefer a rookie quarterback not to have to play immediately, but he wouldn’t rule it out.

“Anything can happen from the standpoint of the draft,” Wilks said. “Once a guy is on the roster, as I mentioned before, it’s about competing. I would say, we brought Sam to be the starter, and that’s our intention right there. When you get a young guy, you try to do everything you can to give that young man time to learn and grow within the system. Then when he is ready to play, you can put him in there.”

All of the Cardinals’ 2017 quarterbacks have locked in their futures, all away from Arizona. Blaine Gabbert agreed to terms with the Titans Tuesday, following Drew Stanton’s deal with the Browns, Matt Barkley’s deal with the Bengals, and Carson Palmer’s deal with his family (to retire.)

The Cardinals grabbed Glennon to help refill that depth chart. Wilks said in free-agent talks, Glennon understood his role was not only as backup but as support for Bradford. Bradford, meanwhile, showed his great accuracy and ability to make all the throws in his NFC offensive Player of the Week performance Week One last season.

Then came Bradford’s knee problem, yet another injury in a career dotted with them.

“People say, ‘What about the injuries,’ ” Wilks said. “That can happen to any player. You can draft a player and that can happen. We are excited about Sam and will be doing everything we can up front to protect him.”

That idea goes beyond the offensive line. It also means off days during training camp and the season, so the Cardinals are certain he is able to get the recovery he needs for his body. Having a grass field throughout training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium will aid Bradford, Wilks added.

Health is a crucial aspect to Bradford’s success. But it isn’t the only factor whether he remains in the lineup past this season.

“We hope Sam is the guy,” Wilks said.

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