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Kelly taking quite a risk with Bradford

It's a good thing Chip Kelly can coach because his general manager has blown up his roster and so far given him a bunch of question marks, including the injury-prone Sam Bradford after the Eagles traded Nick Foles to the Rams along with draft picks.

It's a good thing Chip Kelly can coach because his general manager has blown up his roster and so far given him a bunch of question marks, including the injury-prone Sam Bradford after the Eagles traded Nick Foles to the Rams along with draft picks.

Kelly, of course, will have no one to blame but himself because he's the GM, the Mastermind, the Lord Executioner, the Captain of the Eagles' ship. He's far from remaking the team, but the quarterback, running back, top wide receiver, starting right guard and outside linebacker have all walked the plank to other environs in the last two weeks and Kelly has had little to show in return.

The Bradford-for-Foles deal is the biggest head-scratcher. You could argue that getting talented young linebacker Kiko Alonso for the expensive LeSean McCoy was a beneficial exchange, or that the Chiefs overpaid Jeremy Maclin, or that Todd Herremans and Trent Cole had hit their expiration dates.

But Kelly actually gave up more than the Rams to get Bradford, a quarterback who is coming off the second torn anterior cruciate ligament injury of his career. The Eagles sent, along with the 26-year-old Foles, their 2015 fourth-round draft pick and 2016 second-round pick to St. Louis for the 27-year-old Bradford and the Rams' 2015 fifth-round selection.

The only insurance the Eagles have against Bradford's suffering another setback is a 2016 conditional third- or fourth-round pick that is based on whether he gets hurt again or plays less than 50 percent of snaps this season.

There were other teams interesting in Bradford - the Browns, for instance, according to an NFL source. So Kelly had competition. But did he have to give up so much for a quarterback who has missed 31 starts over the last four seasons to injury?

Kelly already has given free-agent cornerback Byron Maxwell a six-year, $63 million contract - a deal that industry insiders said was $2 million more than the Eagles' competitors. He obviously wanted Bradford, who when healthy has the tools to be a top-tier quarterback.

But Bradford never hit his ceiling in his first four seasons with the Rams and he spent all of last year on injured reserve. The fact that Kelly gave up so much to get Bradford makes it difficult to see him trying to make the move for Marcus Mariota in the draft that many had speculated.

And it seems unlikely that there's a third team that Kelly has a trade lined up with that would allow him to flip Bradford in an attempt to trade up from the 20th selection in the first round and nab his former Oregon quarterback.

It would be foolish to rule anything out, though, only two months into Kelly's unpredictable reign. Jeffrey Lurie gave him complete control and has apparently let his coach wash out almost any of the remains from the Andy Reid-Joe Banner-Howie Roseman eras.

It's difficult to form any solid conclusions without Kelly's input, but he hasn't spoken since the end of season and since he wrestled power from Roseman. Kelly is not required to talk until the NFL owners meetings in two weeks.

Kelly, from all appearances, intends for a healthy Bradford to be his starting quarterback. The Eagles re-signed Mark Sanchez to a two-year contract that has enough provisions for him to "compete" for the starting job or in case Bradford gets sidelined again.

But Bradford comes with a hefty price tag - $12.9 million in the final year of his contract - and currently counts more than any other Eagles player against the salary cap. It's his job to lose. Most teams after acquiring a starting quarterback offer a good-faith contract extension, but can Kelly afford to take that risk?

There is, of course, potential upside to the trade. Bradford has a strong arm, good size (6-foot-4, 224 pounds) and has managed to avoid the turnover problems that often plague young quarterbacks. He also checks off the character and team leader characteristics teams need at the position.

Bradford was very accurate in college at Oklahoma, but he hasn't completed more than 60.7 percent of his passes in any season in the pros. Kelly's offense could help. Sanchez's career-best completion percentage jumped from 56.7 to 64.1 percent after one season with the Eagles.

Kelly has proved that he can win with various types of quarterbacks - Michael Vick, Sanchez and Foles already. Foles was the most successful, compiling a 14-4 record as a starter. His 27 touchdowns against two interceptions in 2013 were an NFL record.

But he regressed in 2014 or moved more to the middle where many have him rated among the league's quarterbacks. But there is still seemingly some untapped potential there and that is one reason that Kelly will take blows until the season starts.

He was never a Foles guy - that much was clear. The only Eagles quarterback he thinks less of is Matt Barkley. He would praise Foles, but he never endorsed him as the future.

"I've got great faith in Nick, and I think he's a hell of a quarterback, and I think sometimes he gets banged too much," Kelly said in November, days after Foles suffered a season-ending broken collarbone. "I wish there were more people like Nick Foles in our lives."

Kelly knows a little about quarterbacks, though, and how to get them to perform at their best. But the jury is still out on whether he knows much about NFL personnel and getting the best value in a league in which even the most minor decision can have a major impact on winning or losing.