When Drew Brees went down with an injury, many presumed that the Saints’ season was lost. Fortunately for them, Teddy Bridgewater had something of a comeback season after spending most of the last three seasons injured or on the bench.
Now, with Brees back in the rotation, it is up to the Saints to decide what to do next with the fifth-year quarterback. On one hand, they could trade him while his stock his high, on the other, they could keep him as insurance.
Teddy Bridgewater’s season
Once touted as the Vikings’ quarterback of the future, Teddy Bridgewater had a breakout year in his second season that saw him throw for over 3,200 yards, 14 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Although these were not record-breaking numbers, the quarterback showed promise during that season. Unfortunately, he missed the entire 2016 season after a gruesome injury to his knee.
After sporadically appearing off the bench for the Saints in his first season there, Bridgewater returned this year presuming a similar role. When Brees went down, however, everything changed. The result was some of the best football that Bridgewater has ever played.
Bridgewater was 5-0 in his starts for the Saints, completed nearly 68% of his pass attempts, and threw nine touchdowns versus two interceptions. Bridgewater had people thinking that maybe he was back, and while Brees has since returned to the lineup, this production could get Bridgewater the second-chance that he has always wanted.
The case for trading Teddy Bridgewater
If the Saints wanted to fill in any holes on offense or defense, Teddy Bridgewater might be an attractive piece for them to shop. Teams like the Bears, who have struggled under Mitch Trubisky could use the quarterback help and may be willing to give up a valuable piece in the process. Elsewhere, a team like the Chiefs could be looking for a more viable backup option to Patrick Mahomes in case his injury concerns come back up.
Although Bridgewater had his moment with the Saints, the team will continue to be Drew Brees’ until he finally hangs it up. This could mean that if they do not move Bridgewater this season, he’s probably gone in the offseason if a team believes that he could start for them. This, however, does hinge on whether or not Brees retires in the offseason.
The case against trading him
A backup quarterback is a valuable tool to have. However, not having some insurance in case a team’s quarterback goes down could be deadly going forward. The Eagles learned this the year they won the Super Bowl with Nick Foles, their backup quarterback, throwing them to victory. Banking on the health of 40-year-old Drew Brees may not be a smart move.
Furthermore, Brees could be in his last season. If the team wanted to go back to a proven presence in the future, keeping Teddy Bridgewater around and possibly signing him next year if Brees retired could have the offense stay in familiar hands for the team regardless of how this team ends the season. While many teams clamor to have one NFL-caliber quarterback, the Saints have had two perform as such.
Making a decision
The short-term move could be to trade Teddy Bridgewater for depth, but that immediately hurts the team if Brees experiences another injury. Conversely, the team could use Bridgewater in select plays all year and try to use him as insurance not only this year but in the event of Brees’s retirement. The team would be wise to keep the quarterback around.
Bridgewater has been a great comeback story, and perhaps that story will continue either this season or the next. As such, he might be a high-reward option to keep around behind their 40-year-old quarterback. If they do run him out, the downside far outweighs the upside.