Teddy Bridgewater has made his decision.
Despite visiting the Dolphins on Wednesday night and discussing a chance to become their bridge quarterback, Bridgewater has decided to remain with the Saints as Drew Brees’ backup, as first reported by ESPN’s Dianna Russini, who added that Bridgewater only would’ve left New Orleans for Miami for “life-changing money,” which isn’t what the Dolphins offered him.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Bridgewater is getting a one-year, $7.25 million deal that is fully guaranteed. According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, the contract carries a maximum value of $12.5 million through incentives. Those incentives would likely only be activated if an injury to Brees forces the Saints to start Bridgewater.
ESPN’s report came moments after Bridgewater sent out two tweets that indicated he’d picked the Saints over the Dolphins. As many have noted, Brees signed with the Saints instead of the Dolphins on March 14, 2006, which is what Bridgewater was likely referring to in his first tweet.
When the legal tampering period began earlier this week, Bridgewater was expected to stick with the Saints, even though the Jaguars and Dolphins, both of whom needed new quarterbacks, The Jaguars to replace Blake Bortles. The Dolphins still haven’t found a replacement for Ryan Tannehill, who is , which is why they hosted Bridgewater for a visit on Wednesday night.
In the end, Bridgewater made what appears to be a smart decision. By remaining patient, he has a chance to become the heir to Brees’ throne in New Orleans. If he’d taken the Dolphins’ offer, he would’ve been given a chance to start again, but he also would’ve been starting for a bad football team that is in the beginning stages of a rebuild. And if he’d failed to impress as the Dolphins’ starter, he might not have been given another chance to start in the NFL.
It’s a huge win for the Saints, who will roll into next season with arguably the best backup in football. Before Bridgewater suffered Vikings on the eve of the 2016 season, he was considered to be a starting-caliber quarterback. The No. 32 pick in 2014, Bridgewater started 28 games during his first two seasons, leading the Vikings to a 17-11 record. He would’ve won a playoff game too if not for Blair Walsh. Since the injury, he’s been forced to serve as a backup.with the
But he’s still only 26 years old. Brees is 40. While Brees is coming off a near-MVP season, he faded as the season wore on. It’s not unreasonable to expect Brees to regress at some point in the near future. The process of aging always wins out. The point being, Bridgewater could be the Saints’ starting quarterback at some point in the near future, although there’s no way to know for certain. For now, he gets the chance to make good backup quarterback money, play for a Super Bowl contender, and learn from Brees and Payton.
As for the Dolphins, it’s not clear where they’ll go from here. Tannehill is still on the team. Their draft pick probably isn’t enough high enough for them to get a top rookie quarterback. And there aren’t any good free agents available. They could always try to trade for Josh Rosen. Maybe they’ll just stick with Tannehill. Or they could start a terrible quarterback and embrace the tank.
If they intend to undergo a full rebuild, starting a bad quarterback in 2019 and earning the top pick in next year’s draft wouldn’t be the worst outcome. At this point, it might actually be their best outcome.