Eagles coach Chip Kelly continued his bold, potentially questionable roster churn Tuesday, dealing quarterback Nick Foles to the Rams for quarterback Sam Bradford, the first overall pick of the 2010 draft who is coming off a second ACL surgery. The Rams also gave the Eagles a fifth-round pick this year, and the Eagles sent St. Louis a fourth-round pick this year and a second-rounder in 2016.
Kelly wasn't the only wheeler-dealer on Day 1 of the NFL league year. Two other monster trades dominated the news. The Saints dealt star tight end Jimmy Graham and a fourth-round pick to the defending NFC champion Seahawks for center Max Unger and a first-rounder. The Lions, still smarting from losing coveted free-agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to the Dolphins, made a nice save by acquiring defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, a two-time All-Pro, in a trade with the Ravens.
Kelly has embarked on a significant overhaul of his roster, last week sending tailback LeSean McCoy to the Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso, who also is coming off an ACL injury. Kelly, who last year traded receiver DeSean Jackson to Washington, also saw Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin reunited with Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who drafted Maclin with the Eagles. Kelly also has released Trent Cole, a longtime pass-rushing specialist for the Eagles, and guard Todd Herremans.
Kelly also has signed Mark Sanchez to a two-year contract, meaning he and Bradford likely will compete for the starting job in training camp. That is, unless Kelly has another idea up his sleeve -- perhaps trading up in the draft to select his former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Only last year, Graham signed a four-year, $40-million contract that paid him a whopping $13 million in 2014. But with the Saints dealing with salary-cap problems, they dealt Graham for a reliable center and the 31st overall pick this year.
Graham, one of Drew Brees' favorite targets, had 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns last season and instantly improves the Seahawks' passing game. Seattle last week agreed to a contract extension for running back Marshawn Lynch.
The Lions declined to match Miami's $116-million offer for Suh and did the next-best thing in acquiring Ngata, an excellent run-stuffer and solid pass rusher. He isn't quite as good as Suh but is still one of the better defensive tackles in the game. Ngata, 31, had 25 1/2 sacks and 528 tackles in nine seasons with the Ravens, who selected him in the first round of the 2006 draft.
"Haloti has been an outstanding player for us for many years,'' Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "He consistently showed tremendous leadership in our locker room and on the field. At times, he was one of the NFL's most dominant players.''
Besides the major trades, several players agreed to free-agent deals:
The Colts were particularly aggressive, agreeing to terms with former 49ers running back Frank Gore and Cole. Indianapolis also retained safety Mike Adams with a contract extension. The Colts last week signed Herremans.
Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea agreed to a four-year, $20-million deal with Washington, and 49ers guard Mike Iupati inked a five-year, $40-million contract with the Cardinals. Broncos tight end Julius Thomas signed a five-year, $46-million deal with the Jaguars, and Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith agreed to a five-year, $40-million deal with the 49ers. The Bengals gave a two-year deal to Packers free-agent linebacker A.J. Hawk.
As expected, 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, a five-time All-Pro, announced his retirement after his 2014 season ended with toe surgery. Titans quarterback Jake Locker, whose four-year career was ravaged by injuries, also retired.