Sunday's roundup: Vikings make statement by getting Bradford
The Vikings, who still believe a Lombardi Trophy is within their grasp this season, moved swiftly and boldly to replace Teddy Bridgewater.
Four days after their starting quarterback was lost to a season-ending knee injury, the reigning NFC North champs on Saturday acquired Sam Bradford in a stunning trade with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“We felt this was a very rare and unique opportunity to add a quarterback of Sam’s caliber,” general manager Rick Spielman said.
During an injury-prone six-year NFL career, Bradford has not lived up to the billing of being the top pick in the 2010 draft. But the 28-year-old, who has now been traded twice in the past 18 months, is a clear upgrade over Shaun Hill, the 36-year-old former Lion who was slated to be Bridgewater’s top backup in 2016.
The addition of Bradford, who is under contract through 2017, gives the Vikings a starting-caliber quarterback for this season and an insurance policy in the event that Bridgewater is not ready to return for the start of next season.
Before Thursday night’s preseason finale, Spielman insisted the Vikings were not desperate and said they would not make a move that would “hurt us going into the future.” Less than 48 hours later, he traded their 2017 first-round pick and a conditional pick in 2018 that can become a second-rounder to get Bradford.
“We did not mortgage the future in my mind,” Spielman said after the trade, pointing out that the Vikings still have eight 2017 draft picks.
Bradford has a 25-37-1 career record and has never started a playoff game.
Kap sales onrise
Sales of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick jerseys have skyrocketed in the wake of his refusal to stand for the national anthem, which he says is a protest against America’s treatment of “black people and people of color,” according to an abcnews.go.com report.
His jersey sales jumped from 20th among 49ers players to first. Even though he is only a backup quarterback, Kaepernick has moved to fifth overall among NFL jersey sales, according to NFL.com.
Bears waive Gould
The Bears released Robbie Gould, ending an 11-year run with the most accurate kicker in franchise history, and upgraded their offensive line by signing three-time Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton to a three-year deal.
Gould helped the 2006 team reach the Super Bowl and became the Bears' all-time leader in field-goal percentage (85.4 percent) and points (1,207). He also holds club records for field goals made (276), field goals made of 50 yards or more (23), field goals made in a season (33 in 2015) and longest field goal made (58-yards in 2013).
Gould had a rough stretch last season after making his first 15 field-goal attempts, though he wound up converting 84.6 percent. He made 5 of 6 field goals in the preseason but missed two extra points in the final exhibition against Cleveland. And with two years remaining on his contract, the Bears are parting ways and will need to bring in another kicker.
Cowboys sign Sanchez
The Cowboys have signed six-year veteran Mark Sanchez and waived Jameill Showers in a swap of backup quarterbacks behind rookie starter Dak Prescott.
Tony Romo remained on the active roster amid uncertainty on how long he will be out with a broken bone in his back sustained in a exhibition game.
Prescott had a strong start to the preseason after former Lion Kellen Moore broke his right ankle in practice at training camp, and the Cowboys ultimately decided to give their fourth-round pick the backup job.
Texans activate Watt
J.J. Watt passed his physical Sunday and will return to practice today, a good sign that he’ll be ready for Houston’s opener against Chicago on Sept. 11.
Watt missed all of training camp and the Texans’ four exhibition games after surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back in July.
Watt, the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in three of the past four seasons, hasn’t missed a game in his five-year career.
Hester joins Ravens
After working out Devin Hester on back-to-back days, the Ravens signed him to a one-year deal Sunday.
Hester, 33, is regarded as one of the best return specialists in NFL history. He is a four-time Pro Bowl selection and holds the NFL record for return touchdowns with 20 and punt return scores with 14.
Sunday’s key moves
The Ravens have signed former Navy star Keenan Reynolds to their practice squad.
After scoring an NCAA-record 88 rushing touchdowns as Navy’s quarterback, Reynolds was drafted in the sixth round by Baltimore. His bid to make the squad as a receiver and punt returner was short-circuited when he was cut Saturday, but Sunday’s move means he can hone his skills while practicing with the team.
... Tight end Rico Gathers, a former Baylor basketball player, was among seven players added to the Cowboys practice squad.
Associated Press contributed