You have to admire New Orleans Saints backup quarterback and million dollar clip board holder Teddy Bridgewater. The one-time starter for the Minnesota Vikings decided to remain as the understudy to Drew Brees for at least one more season in the Big Easy. He also passed on what looked to be an absolute lock as the quarterback of the Miami Dolphins.
Bridgewater signed a one year, $7.25 million dollar contract to stay in New Orleans. It also has some performance incentives that could make it a $12.5 deal when all is said and done.
March 14, 2019
Teddy Bridgewater signs a one-year deal with a maximum value of $12.5 million with the New Orleans Saints.
March 14, 2006
Drew Brees signs a 6-year, $60 million deal with the New Orleans Saints.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2019
At least for 2019, the Saints look to be solid at the quarterback position. As for what happens after that, it’s really anyone’s guess.
Will Brees still be Brees in 2020 at the age of 41?
What about Teddy Bridgewater? He may be the greatest unknown based on not having started a meaningful game in a long time. Also, after the devastating non-contact knee injury, is he the Bridgewater everyone would likely expect?
That is a lot of questions for the Saints to have unanswered with a quality team still a contender in 2019.
New Orleans has six picks coming up in the April draft. The consensus is that the Saints will focus on the tight end position early, while keeping an eye on linebacker and perhaps a running back with a later pick. That said, Sean Payton would be smart to keep some quarterback names on the board, especially in the middle rounds, and regardless of not having a first round selection.
In a lot of ways, Bridgwater staying in New Orleans for another season is a nice insurance policy to have for 2019.
But for 2019 only.
It’s about what comes next. And unless fans in the Big Easy are OK with a sustained run of mediocrity after Brees, they should hope Payton keeps one eye on a couple of QB’s who would be a good addition, knowing ZERO pressure would be felt for at least one more season.
Four names, in no particular order:
-Will Grier from West Virginia.
-Jarrett Stidham from Auburn.
-Kyle Shurmer from Vanderbilt.
Four quarterbacks who will be drafted anywhere from the second to the fourth round. Also, four quarterbacks who can sit, wait, and develop at a cheaper price than Bridgewater for several seasons.
It’s not long division. As great as Brees is and has been, he’s on the other side of a career. Bridgewater, who was once upon a time part of the NFL All Rookie Team is a riddle. He is maybe everything, maybe nothing, maybe anything in the middle. While the Dolphins are in a full-blown, self-imposed rebuild, the Saints have an opportunity to keep one eye on 2019 and one eye on the future.
They would be smart to not fall too far behind the QB curve when one will be available to sit, wait, and learn.
In shorter form, there is no upside in the Saints putting all their eggs in the Teddy Bridgewater basket. Unless the brass in New Orleans is preparing for a long pause after Brees, fleshing out a starting quarterback who won’t command the price tag an unknown commodity that Bridgewater does, is win-win.
Meaning draft a QB in 2019, as opposed to a wait and hope approach. A guaranteed recipe for disaster.
This is no knock on Bridgewater. He’s a feel good story who had his career altered by a freak injury when sky was the limit. He’s also something of an unproven commodity being paid more on potential than a tried and true record.
The New Orleans Saints are poised for one last run. The NFC South is a division likely theirs for the taking. Additionally, the conference as a whole is playing catch up to the pinball style of football seen in 2018, and a brand Brees and Payton play exceptionally well.
Drew Brees is closer to the end than the beginning.
Teddy Bridgewater remains only a great story.
Drafting a quarterback in 2019 allows Brees to wrap it up on his timeline, and Bridgewater to maybe be part of a Super Bowl run.
Beyond that, relying on him to be what comes next in New Orleans is professional malpractice.