For the second time in less than a year, Teddy Bridgewater is on the move again.
The fifth-year quarterback was traded Wednesday afternoon to the New Orleans Saints for a 2019 third-round pick. The Jets also sent its 2019 sixth-round draft pick to the Saints. The New York Jets had been shopping Bridgewater around for much of the preseason and eventually found the package they wanted in return.
Bridgewater had signed a one-year deal with the Jets this off-season but after the team had re-signed Josh McCown and drafted Sam Darnold, Bridgewater seemed like the odd man out. He performed well this preseason, completing 28 of 38 passes, throwing for two touchdowns and 316 passing yards.
Since his devastating knee injury in 2016, Bridgewater has only appeared in one regular season game. Due to the performances of Case Keenum and Sam Bradford in 2017, Bridgewater never had the opportunity to see the field for the Vikings and elected to sign elsewhere in free agency.
For the Jets, this trade signifies the coaching staff’s decision to move Darnold into the starting spot. There was a lot of hype around the former USC quarterback this off-season and the rookie has had an impressive preseason campaign.
Head coach Todd Bowles has a young team and starting Darnold allows this young unit to grow and mesh with one another. The playoffs are far from anyone’s expectations for this team, so Darnold will be allowed to make mistakes and go through his rookie struggles without much outside pressure.
While the third-round pick is nothing to drool over, it does help the Jets speed up their rebuilding process. The extra pick could allow the Jets to add another talented player or they could package the pick along with others in an attempt to move up on draft night.
For the Saints, on the other hand, Bridgewater happens to be a huge upgrade from their current backup quarterbacks Tom Savage and Taysom Hill, who both now might not even make the final roster. In the event that Drew Brees were to go down with an injury and miss some time this season, head coach Sean Payton would feel much more comfortable with Bridgewater out there rather than Savage.
The organization also thought long-term when making this deal with the Jets. Their current starting quarterback is Drew Brees and while he has been performing at an elite level, he turns 40-years old this season and father time will eventually get the best of him. The Saints locked in Brees for two more years after signing him to an extension this off-season, but it is very likely the Saints don’t have Brees in their plans once those two seasons are up.
However, because Bridgewater is only signed to a one-year deal, it is unclear whether or not the Saints are 100% sold on Bridgewater being the heir to Brees. New Orleans will more than likely come to that decision later in the season after watching him practice throughout the year and in games if needed.