Football players who have yet to get paid for playing football often buy insurance to protect themselves against injuries suffered while playing football without getting paid.
Former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has acquired the standard protection against a career-ending injury. According to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com, Bridgewater also has purchased a policy that will pay benefits simply if he slides down the board — as many believe he will.
More and more draft experts predict that Bridgewater won’t be taken in round one. Most recently, Gil Brandt of NFL.com suggested that Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could be selected before Bridgewater.
The policy pays up to $5 million tax-free, setting up a potentially intriguing wrinkle for Bridgewater’s potential on-air homage to Aaron Rodgers, Brady Quinn, and Geno Smith. With each passing team that passes on Bridgewater, Bridgewater possibly wins more money.
Maybe ESPN can tuck in the corner of a seizure-inducing draft screen a “Bridgewater insurance jackpot” graphic, with a number that increases with each pick that isn’t him. And then Chris Berman can call him “Teddy Bridge-over-troubled-water-that-shouldn’t-be-so-troubled-because-he-gets-insurance-money.”
“When Bridgewater bought the loss-of-value policy for less than $20,000,” Rovell writes, “he was projected to be the No. 3 pick in the draft, and a source with knowledge of the policy said he will start to collect money if he falls out of the top 11.
“With each drop in draft slot after that, Bridgewater will pick up hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
While the article points out in multiple spots that Bridgewater can collect the money only if he can prove that the loss in value resulted from injury or illness, that angle doesn’t receive nearly the attention it deserves. It deserves far more attention in the article because, well, THERE’S . . . NO . . . EVIDENCE that Bridgewater has suffered an injury or illness that would impact his value.
If/when Bridgewater slides, it will happen because of his mediocre Pro Day workout, which should never be mediocre when the receivers are familiar, the routes are scripted, and the defense is invisible. It also will happen in part due to the results of private workouts, which won’t be known — and if reported the information may not be accurate.
If Bridgewater truly purchased for less than $20,000 a policy that pays $5 million if he ends up out of the first round, the insurance company won’t pay a penny without clear proof that the free-fall falls within the terms of the policy. The protection surely isn’t against subpar performances during workouts or meetings with teams, but against catastrophic events, like getting hit by a proverbial bus, being struck by actual lightning, or having an unfortunate encounter with a rattlesnake.
In fairness to ESPN.com, the article — if read carefully — makes clear that Bridgewater: (1) must prove injury or illness; and (2) by all appearances can’t. But if that’s the case, why is this even a story?
A cursory review of the story and/or a quick scan of the headline creates the impression that Bridgewater is in play to get paid, even though he isn’t. Which means that the average drive-by reader likely will carry into next Thursday night the mistaken impression that Bridgewater has five million reasons to not be upset if he spends the first night of the draft not being drafted.