Saints fans were riled up Wednesday with the breaking news that Teddy Bridgewater, along with a 2019 sixth round pick, were being traded from the New York Jets to New Orleans for a 2019 third round pick. At first glance, I was elated.
I’ve like Bridgewater since his Rookie of the Year season with the Vikings in 2014. Many are writing he could finally be the heir apparent to Drew Brees when the future first ballot Hall of Famer finally hangs up his cleats.
The story certainly sounds familiar. A promising young quarterback with injury concerns heads to a perfect situation with a talented, youthful roster and a mad scientist head coach with a knack for offensive scheming.
My greatest reservation, however, has nothing to do with the state of Bridgewater’s surgically repaired knee, but rather more to do with the timing of this decision and the price tag that’s attached to a backup quarterback who may never see a snap in a Saints uniform.
The NFL free agency period began on Wednesday March 15, 2018, but as early as Tuesday March 14, Bridgewater had already agreed in terms to join the New York Jets on a one-year deal worth $6 Million total and $1 Million guaranteed.
Teddy Bridgewater plans to sign a one year deal with the Jets Wednesday, per source— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 14, 2018
The following day, as free agency officially began, the Saints decided to let Chase Daniel leave for the Chicago Bears and elected to sign former Houston Texan quarterback Tom Savage to a one-year deal worth $1.5 Million and only $100,000 guaranteed.
Tom Savage @TomSavage03 has agreed to terms with the New Orleans Saints— Schwartz & Feinsod (@schwartzfeinsod) March 14, 2018
Because Savage came with his own set of injury concerns, I find it hard to believe the Saints actually preferred him over Bridgewater at the onset of free agency. I wonder if the Saints simply lost the race during the “legal tampering period” which began at 12pm ET Monday March 13, 2018.
During the two day period before free agency actually started at 4pm ET on Wednesday, March 15, all 32 teams had the right to negotiate “all aspects of an NFL player contract” with certified agents of impending free agents.
Teams could only negotiate with certified agents, not players; even if they represented themselves. Sorry Richard Sherman. Though the free agent could not visit any team other than their own, contract details could have been exchanged, just not formally agreed upon until 4pm ET March 15.
Perhaps the Jets simply smoked the Saints on getting to Bridgewater’s agent first, or maybe Bridgewater’s agent thought the Jets were a better landing spot.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about the trade, but I wish the Saints had just signed Bridgewater in free agency rather than settling for a mediocre, low-upside, and equally injury prone stop gap in Savage.
Now the Saints’ 2019 draft will be one of the most boring and thin drafts since the Saints traded eight draft picks, including two first rounders to Washington in order to move up from 12th to fifth overall for running back Ricky Williams.
As of now, the Saints have a second, fourth, fifth, two sixths, and a seventh round pick next year. At least, the Saints have drafted incredibly well in the second round in recent years.
Marcus Williams, Michael Thomas, and Vonn Bell were all snagged in the second round. Even Saints legends Roman Harper and Tracy Porter were selected in the second round.
But, they have paid a high price on a player with only one year guaranteed in a Saints uniform. If Bridgewater was on a three year deal, I would be far more excited, because I just don’t see Brees retiring after this year, especially if the Saints don’t win their second Super Bowl.
Let’s hope Bridgewater falls in love with poboys made with Leidenheimer bread, because it’s going to take more than a rewarding apprenticeship behind Drew Brees to convince him to stay after this season.
Bridgewater is a gamer and deserves his shot at starting. I’m just not sure he’ll get his chance here within the timeframe of his current deal.