There was a theory in league circles before the trade that sent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater from the Jets to the Saints that Bridgewater wasn’t interested in trading his status as potential backup with one team for a role of definite backup with another. Given that he’s landing in a great situation to be a backup, he’s OK with that development.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Bridgewater “loves” the move, even though it means he won’t be playing absent an injury to future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. The upside comes from the chance to learn and to develop in a system designed by Sean Payton and executed by Brees.
With enough tape from three preseason games to show that Bridgewater’s knee has healed, he’ll likely find greater interest on the open market in 2019 — especially with far fewer free agents to compete with. And who knows? Maybe Brees calls it quits after the coming season and Bridgewater gets a chance to take over in New Orleans.
However it plays out, this is a move aimed at setting the table for Bridgewater in the future. Still only 25, he’s got plenty of years left to play. And he’ll now be in a better position to play and to play well, wherever he lands next season.
So while he’d rather play this year, not playing with the Saints arguably is better than not playing for any other team. Even though the Saints have given up a third-round pick for Bridgewater and a sixth-rounder, they could still choose to flip him to a team that develops a sudden and urgent need for a starter, if there’s an injury that happens at some point in the not-too-distant future. Like the injury that happened to Bridgewater on August 30, 2016.
Whatever happens beyond tomorrow, Bridgewater will wake up on the two-year anniversary of his catastrophic knee injury with another new start. This one could be the one that eventually allows him to pick his career up where it unexpectedly left off due to a freak dislocation that easily could have kept him from ever playing again.
He now seems destined to play again, in New Orleans or elsewhere. In a league that doesn’t have nearly enough good stories, this could be one of its best stories in years.