With Tuesday’s news that Drew Brees will be returning to the New Orleans Saints for next season, Teddy Bridgewater’s fate has essentially been sealed.
Bridgewater, who is set to be a free agent next month, will almost certainly sign elsewhere to have the chance to start, especially after a very impressive showing in the five games Brees was sidelined in 2019.
There will be a handful of teams who will definitely be showing interest in Bridgewater, but here are the five most ideal free-agent destinations for the 27-year-old quarterback/
The Colts expected to head into 2019 with Andrew Luck under center, but thanks to Luck’s sudden retirement a couple of weeks before the season started, they rolled with Jacoby Brissett.
Brissett looked good early on, but he faded down the stretch and ended up throwing for just 2,942 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions.
The question is, were Brissett’s struggles a direct result of all of the injuries the Colts’ offense was hit with, or was it because he just isn’t very good?
It could be a combination of both, but that is something Indianapolis must figure out over the next month.
Bridgewater has more of a successful track record than Brissett and is probably a better quarterback at this stage, but does Brissett have the higher ceiling?
How confident are the Bears in Mitchell Trubisky going into 2020?
After a brutal 2019 campaign, Chicago can’t feel too good about Trubisky moving forward, and while he is still very young, the complete lack of progression he showed this past season is obviously not a good sign.
I’m not sure the Bears will give up on Trubisky just yet, but they could always bring in Bridgewater as some stiff competition and to shorten Trubisky’s leash.
Would Bridgewater go for that arrangement? I have no idea. He’s probably tired of having to compete for a starting job and surely just wants to have one outright, but that shouldn’t stop Chicago from placing a call.
3. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are clearly not committed to Cam Newton at this point, and neither Kyle Allen nor Will Grier inspired much confidence this past year.
Of course, Carolina could draft a quarterback, but with the seventh overall pick, it’s unclear if there would be anyone on the board the Panthers feel would be worth taking.
Let’s say Carolina decides to move on from Newton. Why not just sign Bridgewater?
He is still young, and he has proven that he can at least be an effective game manager on the NFL level. Will he ever be what Newton was during his prime? Probably not, but Bridgewater may end up being more judicious with the football and could very well fit Carolina’s current offense better than Newton.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No one really knows what the Buccaneers are thinking about Jameis Winston right now.
Earlier in the 2019 campaign, it appeared to be a given that Tampa Bay would be moving on from him, but after Winston showed some flashes of brilliance at certain junctures, the pendulum began to swing back the other way.
Of course, Winston ended up throwing 30 interceptions, so even with his gaudy numbers overall, his penchant for turning the ball over may result in the Bucs letting him walk this offseason.
While some have suggested the Buccaneers just essentially swap quarterbacks with the Los Angeles Chargers and pick up Philip Rivers (more on that in a minute), rolling with the younger Bridgewater would certainly make more sense.
Tampa Bay actually has some really nice pieces on offense, whether they are wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin or tight end O.J. Howard (who was actually a bit of a disappointment this past season).
Bridgewater could slide under center and provide the Bucs with an upgrade over Winston in terms of being a guy who can run the offense without constantly handing the ball to the opponent.
1. Los Angeles Chargers
While Winston’s future with the Buccaneers remains unclear, Rivers’ time with the Chargers is up.
Last week, Los Angeles revealed that it will be moving on from Rivers this offseason, ending a 14-year run with Rivers as the Bolts’ starting signal-caller.
At the moment, the Chargers seem like the most natural fit for Bridgewater.
They are two seasons removed from a 12-win campaign, they have a couple of dynamic wide outs in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and their defense is good enough to control the game so long as Bridgewater takes care of the football.
Yes, LA may be losing Melvin Gordon and Hunter Henry in free agency, which stinks, particularly in the case of Henry, but if the Chargers are somehow able to retain Henry, Bridgewater would have a great cast of weapons to throw the football to, including running back Austin Ekeler.