Sam Bradford was signed in March to be the Cardinals’ starting quarterback, without knowing what could happen in the upcoming draft.
Bradford’s tenure lasted until November.
The Cardinals drafted Josh Rosen a few weeks after Bradford arrived, and when Bradford’s play couldn’t get the offense going, the Cardinals made the rookie their starter – and led to Bradford’s release Saturday, halfway through the season.
“I think it was pretty obvious why (Wilks) made it,” Bradford said last month of his benching. “Obviously I wish I would’ve played better, that’s for sure. I wish I could’ve helped this team get off to a better start.”
It means veteran Mike Glennon will be the backup to Rosen. Rookie Charles Kanoff remains on the practice squad. For now, the Cardinals have not filled Bradford’s spot on the 53-man roster.
The Cardinals have a second opening on the roster as well, after placing reserve offensive lineman John Wetzel on injured reserve with a neck injury, ending his season.
Since being benched for Rosen in Week 4, Bradford has been an inactive third quarterback, in part because Bradford was due a bonus of more than $300,000 for each game he was among the active 46 players on game day. Bradford will still get the balance of his $5 million guaranteed salary, along with the $10 million signing bonus he received and the per-game bonus money from the first three weeks.
When Bradford originally signed in free agency, the Cardinals needed quarterbacks, having completely turned over the position once Carson Palmer retired. Bradford and Glennon were signed, but the dynamic changed once Rosen was picked. Nevertheless, the Cardinals were hoping Bradford would play well and Rosen could wait to get on the field.
Other than two first-quarter touchdown passes against the Bears in Week 3, Bradford never looked comfortable in then-coordinator Mike McCoy’s offense and was not productive. Bradford finished his brief Cardinals’ tenure completing 50-of-80 passes for 400 yards, two touchdowns, four interceptions, six sacks, two lost fumbles and a passer rating of 62.5.
Eventually, McCoy was fired, leaving Byron Leftwich as Rosen’s new coordinator.
Rosen and the coaches praised Bradford for his ability to continue to help Rosen despite his third-string role, and Bradford had said while it took some adjustments, his intent was to help where he could from the sidelines.
“We had a situation to where we were able to go out and get Sam,” coach Steve Wilks said when Bradford was benched. “We were able to go out and get Mike Glennon, not really knowing what was going to happen in the draft. Then you get a guy like Josh Rosen, and then you say, ‘OK, let him sit back and learn from some great ones.’ ”
Now Bradford is gone, underscoring the Cardinals’ quest to develop Rosen on the field for the balance of 2018.
“I’m just happy to coach this kid, happy to go through the bumps and bruises with this kid,” Leftwich said this week. “But as you can see, this kid is getting better and better.”