Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Chip Kelly is not exactly risk-averse. He’s got sports science and research and all of that on his side, but grabbing Sam Bradford from the Rams still wasn’t the safest move he could have made. But if it pays off, it could change the way we look at quarterbacks in the NFL.

In a big piece on Grantland today, Robert Mays took a deeper look at the Sam Bradford experiment and what it could mean if it works out. “If he can stay healthy, his 2015 season has a chance to be the test case for two quarterback theories that other decision-makers are sure to consider moving forward,” Mays says of Bradford. Maybe the lack of being able to field a competent QB on every team has “as much to do with a shortage of suitable environments as it does with a dearth of talent.”

And what they gave up for Bradford, in retrospect, isn’t really much:

“Ideally, Kelly’s plan with Bradford was to break the cycle altogether, to steal a quarterback who was actually worthy of going no. 1 overall but hadn’t shown it because he’d never been given the chance. Looking at the NFL’s traditional draft value chart, the projected picks and Foles (the 88th pick) come out to about 600 points — equivalent to a late first-round pick. The deal essentially allowed Kelly to take a player of Bradford’s pedigree with the 28th pick, something he never would have been able to do five years ago.”

It still depends on Bradford’s success in midnight green, but if he shows that he can play and he can succeed, maybe teams won’t be so steadfast about drafting their franchise QB in the first round. Maybe they can just build the team up and try to find a good QB in a bad situation. That’s what Chip hopes he did, and there’s a lot riding on it.