Before the Dolphins acquired Ryan Fitzpatrick and traded for Josh Rosen to complete their vacuum at quarterback, they appeared to be on the cusp of obtaining Teddy Bridgewater, the former first-round selection of the Vikings who saw instant achievement in Minnesota before a catastrophic knee accident changed his life path. But instead of getting the chance to perhaps begin for the Dolphins, Bridgewater chose to stay in New Orleans as the buffer of Drew Brees.
It’s not that Bridgewater doesn’t want the chance to begin in the NFL anymore. It’s just that he uses a long-term strategy as he tries to restart his career as an NFL starter. That’s why he remained as an insurance policy in New Orleans because it’s “the greatest chance for me to develop as a player.”
“You want to start and compete as a rival out there,” Bridgewater said, via NOLA.com. “But I just sat back and weighed my alternatives and thought about what would be best for me.
“This is an chance for me to develop, proceed to study and develop my mental ability as a football player.”
Bridgewater hasn’t been with the Saints for a complete year, so he still has plenty to experience. After returning to the official list of the Vikings more than halfway through the 2017 season, Bridgewater left Minnesota in free agency in pursuit of a squad that would offer him a opportunity to compete for a coaching position. He arrived with the Jets, who went on to draft Sam Darnold, making Bridgewater expendable. The Saints traded for him in early August.
Bridgewater stood behind Brees this past season trying to discover a fresh offense on the fly, but he finally received one opportunity to begin at Week 17. He wasn’t doing well. Playing with mostly backups against the Panthers, Bridgewater walked 14 out of 22 for 118 yards, one touchdown, one catch, and a 73.7 passer rating.
Still, it was a big step for Bridgewater, who hadn’t began a match since the 2015 season when he helped the Vikings post a 11-5 record and book a postseason journey. On the eve of the 2016 summer, he ripped up his shoulder. Since then, he has been working his way home from an accident that might have been a career-end for some thought.
Although during the upcoming season he won’t play meaningful football barring an injury to Brees, this is an important year for Bridgewater, who doesn’t have to know a fresh offense in a short time.
“I believe our trainers, he, were all looking forward to this offseason where he could get a bunch of reps, a lot of moment under his belt,” Brees said. “There’s no doubt he’s an incredibly skilled man, but he’s working on it, and I believe this offense fits him very well in a number of tasks we do, a number of the skills we have, the creativity we integrate with everything we do.”
It is also worth noting that Bridgewater is only 26 years old. He can afford to stay patient. His long-term strategy may not be a bad one.
Going to Miami, learning another new offense, and playing for what is likely to be a bad Dolphins team probably wouldn’t have assisted him get back to where he was before the accident. But if he remains in New Orleans, he can proceed to know from both Brees, one of the biggest quarterbacks of all moment, and an offensive mastermind in Sean Payton.
There’s also a possibility he could inherit the work of Brees if Brees, 40, were to retire at the end of the decade. Every offseason, at least one squad needs a starting quarterback. So, if Bridgewater joins New Orleans next year, he should be prepared to discover a squad that will let him fight for his starting work.
From 2014-15, Bridgewater began 28 matches and made 29 overall starts for the Vikings. As a starter, he posted a record of 17-11 and accumulated a passer rating of 87.0. If not for a missed chip-shot field goal, he would have earned a playoff match in his second NFL season. Circumstances have obviously altered since then. But there is a reason why Bridgewater should stay an interesting starting point in the near future, even if it takes a long-term strategy.