The Eagles, through their long and somewhat tortured history, have been familiar with strange situations at the quarterback position. It is that spot on the football depth chart where otherwise reliable decision-makers - including coaches, team executives, and the players themselves - come up with some head-scratching stuff, and never more than when a team is about to switch from one savior to the next.
Just recently, the handoff from Michael Vick to Nick Foles was messy; as was the one from Donovan McNabb to Kevin Kolb; and, reaching further back, who else but Buddy Ryan could have used three quarterbacks in the same series (Ron Jaworski, Randall Cunningham, and Matt Cavanaugh in 1986), with none of them having suffered an injury on the drive?
None of those transitions was handled particularly well, or look smooth in retrospect, but nothing that has come before compares to the quarterback upheaval of the last two weeks - a span during which the Eagles moved up unexpectedly in the draft to select a quarterback no one heard of a year ago and simultaneously angered their just-signed incumbent to the point that he left town and demanded a trade.
The Eagles felt the opportunity to land Carson Wentz with the No. 2 pick was so attractive - and in the long run they might be proven right - that whatever came along with that would be acceptable.
Make no mistake, however. As much as Howie Roseman, the architect of the plan, says that the team expected, and still expects, Sam Bradford to suck it up and be a professional, the team was very worried about his reaction to the change in course. When the trade was made to move from the eighth pick in the draft to the second pick, owner Jeffrey Lurie, coach Doug Pederson, and Roseman met with Bradford immediately. Obviously, it wasn't a successful meeting.
"Whenever you're drafting guys in the first round, there are players that are affected," Roseman said Thursday after the team selected Wentz. "This happens all around the National Football League, no matter what position we would have taken, some veteran player would have been affected."
So, nothing to see here, folks. Just another draft pick hoping to come in and win someone else's job. Only difference is this time the veteran doesn't want to stick around for the fight.
That's the narrative the Eagles have chosen, and they are welcome to it. Roseman says the Eagles have no intention of honoring Bradford's trade request, although that would be the thing to say either way. If he said a trade would be sought, the team's bargaining position would be weakened.
The Eagles have time on their side, although they would have preferred Bradford stoically plod forward, especially during the 13 sessions of rookie camp and organized team activities scheduled for May. On one hand, they are doing cartwheels about the enthusiasm and passion of Wentz, while on the other expressing their disappointment in Bradford for not being calm and dispassionate regarding his now-limited future with the team. The Eagles want it both ways, and, for the time being, they can pull that off.
The unknown is Bradford. Is he attempting a gambit he will abandon sooner rather than later? Is he going to take this game of chicken through the summer and to the brink of training camp, when it would start to get really expensive? Is he willing to sit out an entire season, and lose a great deal of money, on his perception of principle?
Any of those three outcomes is a possibility, and, if the Eagles don't cave, those represent the entire universe of moves available to Bradford.
"Whenever he comes back, we'll welcome him with open arms," Roseman said.
The Eagles would prefer that, but teams often find themselves in strange situations at the quarterback position. Not usually this strange, but strange.
The Denver Broncos, for instance, who might have been a landing spot for Bradford, seem comfortable with handing a Super Bowl team to Mark Sanchez and rookie Paxton Lynch. And the New York Jets, another excellent defensive team with big aspirations, find themselves at an impasse with 31-year-old free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick, and seem equally comfortable moving forward with Geno Smith and rookie Christian Hackenberg.
Of course, Denver did well enough a year ago with fading, 39-year-old Peyton Manning and backup Brock Osweiler, who had attempted just 17 passes in his first three seasons in the league. Now the Broncos have their third Lombardi Trophy, and Osweiler has a $72 million contract in Houston.
Look around the league. The quarterback position is often where making sense takes a holiday. The Eagles have experienced that before, many times, as they have searched for that elusive first Super Bowl win. They have known strange characters, and strange seasons, and messy handoffs from one plan to the next.
But never quite like this. If they win nothing else, the Bradford-to-Wentz transition now holds that title.