Drew Brees is returning as the starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. With that news comes the logical conclusion that 2019 backup Teddy Bridgewater will be a 2020 starting quarterback for another team. That begs the question then: where will Teddy sign this offseason? The Cincinnati Bengals seem to be a lock to draft LSU QB Joe Burrow and the Tennessee Titans are likely to retain Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, if only on a franchise tag. So let’s look at some of the remaining potential options:
The Miami Dolphins were known to have courted Teddy last offseason, but Bridgewater instead chose to decline the opportunity to start in Miami and instead opted to be the backup in New Orleans. It’s believed the Dolphins covet Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and they have plenty of draft picks in the 2020 NFL Draft to make it happen. At the same time, the Dolphins could instead decide to throw money at Bridgewater and then use their plethora of draft picks to fill out the rest of the roster. Bridgewater is originally from Miami and could reunite with his former college teammate in DeVante Parker. The Dolphins make all of the sense in the world.
If Bridgewater instead valued a team that looks like it can immediately be a playoff contender in 2020, the Colts seem like a viable candidate. Indianapolis has one of the best offensive lines in football, and Jacoby Brissett failed to run away with the starting quarterback job in Indy. The Colts have plenty of cap space to bring in additional pieces, have an above-average running back duo in Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines and an elite wide receiver in T.Y. Hilton.
Like Indianapolis, the Chargers appear to be ready right now. They will likely bring back at least one of their star running backs and have an elite option at wide receiver in Keenan Allen. The Chargers and Philip Rivers have already announced they are mutually parting ways, so the starting quarterback gig is completely up for grabs. The weather would be comparable, if not better, to Miami, so maybe this is a desirable location for Bridgewater.
Adam Gase and the Chicago Bears front office have maintained that Mitchell Trubisky is the starting quarterback in the Windy City. Still, this doesn’t seem like the smart plan for the Bears. If the Bears want to compete in 2020 behind a solid defense, they will need to re-visit the quarterback position. What better player than one who showed that he can come into Soldier Field and win like Bridgewater did for the Saints last season.
One of the biggest questions in free agency this offseason will be what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decide to do with Jameis Winston. Do they bring Jameis back for another year after he threw for over 5,000 passing yards in 2019? Do they let Jameis walk because of all of the interceptions? If the Bucs were to pass on Jameis, Tampa would be an incredibly desirable place for a starting quarterback, coming in to a wide receiver corps that contains Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Sticking in the NFC South, another huge quarterback question mark is with Cam Newton. The Carolina Panthers have a new head coach in Matt Rhule, so will Rhule want to keep Cam, or will he instead want to bring in “his” guy to lead the team. If Bridgewater is the guy Rhule wants in Carolina, it’s conceivable Bridgewater is throwing passes to D.J. Moore and handing the ball off to Christian McCaffrey in 2020.
New Orleans Saints
It’s technically not out of the question Bridgewater leaves the Saints this offseason. Bridgewater has already chosen once to be a backup in New Orleans instead of taking a starting gig elsewhere in the NFL. If Brees and Sean Payton tell Bridgewater that this is Drew’s last year, it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that Bridgewater comes back on a long-term deal that has a low 2020 cap hit.