The collective-bargaining agreement struck this summer between the NFL and its players all but ensures that no rookie will ever receive as much guaranteed money as Rams' quarterback Sam Bradford, the first choice in the 2010 draft — $50 million, more than twice as much as 2011's top pick, Cam Newton. But Rams officials and fans alike still should feel like they got a bargain. Bradford didn't put up gaudy numbers in his first season leading the Rams' offense, but his stats were solid: He completed 60 percent of his passes for 3,512 yards and eighteen touchdowns against fifteen interceptions for a passer rating of 75.6. Those numbers are actually pretty impressive considering the motley group of receivers who were his targets. But the stats don't tell the whole story. At 22, having hardly played during his senior year at Oklahoma due to injury, Bradford already seemed like a franchise quarterback: smart, poised, driven to win. Yes, he made mistakes, but he never looked overmatched — he looked like someone who could take the Rams back to the promised land.
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