In a surprising plot twist for the 2019 season, Teddy Bridgewater has had a comeback season in the NFL. When Drew Brees went down with an injury, many believed that the New Orleans Saints wouldn’t be able to keep up the type of play that they have under their aging quarterback. Bridgewater, however, didn’t get that memo. He provided the Saints with a much-needed spark and gave himself a nice little boost that could pay dividends this offseason.
Bridgewater’s tough career
Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t been a consistent starter in the NFL since 2015 when he had a breakout season. That year, Bridgewater threw for 3,231 yards, 292 receptions, 14 touchdowns, and nine interceptions en-route to an 11-5 record for the Minnesota Vikings. The following preseason, however, Bridgewater ore his ACL, an injury that cost him the entire season.
Bridgewater was slated to be out 19 months, and the Vikings declined his fifth-year option. He made only one appearance in the 2017 season, where he was cheered relentlessly. Bridgewater signed with the New York Jets in the offseason worth up to $15M with only $500,000 guaranteed. He was traded to the Saints before the season even started, however.
Bridgewater shines with the Saints
The Saints have a starting quarterback in Drew Brees, and even though Brees is on the wrong side of 40, he might have a few more years left in him. That meant that Teddy Bridgewater arrived in New Orleans as a backup quarterback who would only get sporadic play unless Brees got hurt. He started one unspectacular game in 2018, but the team kept him around for another season.
When Brees went down with his finger injury, the Saints could have tried to bring in someone with a more reliable reputation than Bridgewater, but they trusted him following some promising play. As a result, Bridgewater got off a 5-0 record in the five games that he started with the Saints during Brees’s injury. He threw for 1,370 yards, 132 completions, nine touchdowns, and two interceptions.
That was his best season since he was still a young up-and-comer. At 27 years old, it is not too late for Bridgewater to have a resurgence as he goes into free agency.
What’s next for Bridgewater?
With Brees’s age, he could retire any year. Sure, he is still a top-performing quarterback in the NFL, but there is a reason that most players don’t play late into their 40s unless they have a non-contact position like Adam Vinatieri or are something more than human, like Tom Brady. Brees could call it quits at any time, and the Saints may want to keep Bridgewater around in case he does.
Still, if Brees comes back another season, Bridgewater may not be content coming off the bench another year — not after he proved that he can still be a winning quarterback this season. He might look at his options around the league, as several teams will likely be looking for the promise that he showed during the 2019 season.
If you believe Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, Teddy Bridgewater could be a heavily-sought-after asset going into the 2020 season. In a reactionary league like the NFL, players such as Jimmy Garoppolo have gotten massive deals based on very small sample sizes. Bridgewater’s undefeated streak as a starting quarterback combined with relative youth could make teams take the plunge. Freeman believes Bridgewater could get somewhere in the $20-30 million range if a team is desperate for a new quarterback.
Whether a team like the Chargers look at Bridgewater if longtime quarterback Philip Rivers left, or the Bears looked to replace the disappointing Mitch Trubisky, Bridgewater might serve as the perfect option. Bridgewater could even be a replacement for Dak Prescott if he doesn’t get a new deal with the Cowboys.
Teddy Bridgewater has been an amazing comeback story, and it could be a very long one if things continue to trend in the right direction.