Forgive Shaun Hill if he has a sense of déjà vu.
Two years ago, Hill opened the season as the starting quarterback for the St. Louis Rams after Sam Bradford re-tore his left ACL in an Aug. 23 preseason game against the Cleveland Browns.
Now, Hill and Bradford are teammates again following Saturday’s trade in which the Minnesota Vikings acquired Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles for a first-round pick in 2017 and a conditional fourth-round choice in 2018 that could become a second-round pick if Bradford plays 80 percent of the snaps and the Vikings win the Super Bowl.
Hill was set to start this year’s opener, which is still expected to happen, after the devastating knee injury suffered by Teddy Bridgewater on Aug. 30. It’s only a matter of time before Bradford becomes the starter, but that depends on how quickly he becomes comfortable with coordinator Norv Turner’s offense and with his new teammates.
The transition might be smoother than usual because Turner’s system is essentially the same as that run by Brian Schottenheimer, who was the coordinator in St. Louis for three of Bradford’s seasons with the Rams. Another familiar face is Vikings tight ends coach Pat Shurmur, who was the coordinator with the Rams in 2010, Bradford’s rookie year, and with the Eagles last season.
The trade culminates a roller coaster 18 months for Bradford, who was traded by the Rams to Philadelphia in March, 2015, in a deal that included several draft picks and sent quarterback Nick Foles from Philadelphia to St. Louis.
After signing a two-year contract with the Eagles this past March worth $35 million, including $18 million guaranteed this year, Bradford didn’t report to the first three weeks of the offseason program. That was in response to the Eagles trading with Cleveland for the second overall pick in the draft with the intent of selecting a quarterback, which they did with the selection of Carson Wentz.
There was hope the Denver Broncos would be enticed into trading for Bradford, but when that didn’t materialize, Bradford reported for offseason work in May and was slated to be the opening-day starter for the Eagles. That job will now apparently belong to Wentz instead of Chase Daniel as long as Wentz has recovered from injured ribs.
The Vikings are responsible for Bradford’s $7 million guaranteed salary this season, and he has already been paid an $11 million signing bonus by the Eagles. In 2017, there is a $4 million roster bonus due in March, and also that month another $4 million of his $13 million base salary becomes guaranteed if he is on the roster.
The addition of Bradford for a first-round pick also becomes insurance in the event Bridgewater’s rehab doesn’t go smoothly.
For the Eagles, the acquisition of a first-round pick comes a few days after the league announced the 2017 draft would be held in Philadelphia, despite the team not having a first-round choice that would energize the fan base.