Four weeks from the opening of free agency, there has been no conclusive announcement regarding whether Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will qualify. A chance remains that the final year of his contract will toll for one year, because he was on the Physically Unable to Perform list for the first six games of the regular season.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Bridgewater’s camp doesn’t believe it will be an issue.
That doesn’t mean it won’t be. The Vikings have been vague about the situation, pointing a finger in the general direction of the NFL long before there’s any reason to be pointing a finger anywhere. The Vikings have since gone silent on the issue.
Logic suggests that, if it’s not a potential impediment to Bridgewater’s eligibility for unrestricted free agency, the Vikings would make it known that there will be no tolling. Of course, it’s possible that the Vikings truly are deferring to the league on this, and that the Vikings currently don’t know what the league will do.
Whatever the league does, the league needs to do it. If a grievance over the issue is going to be pursued, Bridgewater needs to have time to file and prosecute the effort so that it will be resolved before free agency begins. If Bridgewater doesn’t get clarity for a week or two after free agency opens, he may end up with a lesser deal than what he could have gotten.
The language of the Collective Bargaining Agreement indicates that a player in the final year of his contract who is physically unable to perform for six or more games will have the contract toll. It’s believed by some, however, that the tolling actually happens only if the player misses the entire season.
Bridgewater suffered a devastating knee injury in August 2016, missing all of that season and the first six games of 2017. He made one garbage-time cameo appearance for the Vikings in 2017.