The New Orleans Saints made a very bold and aggressive move yesterday when they acquired the top backup quarterback on the trade market, as well as a potential "heir apparent" to starting QB Drew Brees.
New Orleans gave the New York Jets a 3rd Round pick in next year's 2019 NFL Draft, in exchange for QB and former University of Louisville star Teddy Bridgewater and a 6th Round pick — which seemingly would suggest that Saints team brass are committed to him beyond this season.
Bridgewater had quickly become expendable in New York after signing with them this past off-season, following their selection of USC quarterback Sam Darnold.
The rookie QB has been very impressive this Pre-Season; and with long-time veteran Josh McCown there to back him up, it made Bridgewater the proverbial "odd man out".
Bridgewater, 25, is only two years removed from a devastating knee injury that he suffered with the Minnesota Vikings (who drafted him originally in the 2014 NFL Draft) which nearly ended his career, but seems to be fully recovered given his own impressive performance this Pre-Season (28 of 38 for 316 Yards, 2 TD's, 1 INT, a 73.7% completion percentage and a 104.71 Passer Rating).
In college, Bridgewater finished his first season at Louisville completing 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,129 yards 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions as a true freshman.
Each subsequent season, Bridgewater improved in every statistical category passing the ball, including yards, touchdowns, interceptions and completion percentage.
Bridgewater finished his career at Louisville throwing for nearly 10,000 yards, 72 touchdowns and just 24 interceptions. Sports Illustrated even named him as the "most franchise-ready QB"of the 2014 Draft Class. NFL scouts compared him to current NFL star QB's Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, for his dual-threat capability using either his arm or legs.
The biggest question going forward now simply becomes: will Bridgewater view the Saints as a part of HIS future, and not just the other way around?
As of this very moment, Bridgewater will be playing on a 1-year deal worth $6 million this season, so he currently doesn’t have any long-term stability either career-wise and especially financially.
But — Bridgewater is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent once again next March; meaning that if he and Saints team brass aren't able to work out a long-term deal, then the Saints could find themselves stuck right back in the same situation they were in before yesterday's trade.
However, it should also be pointed out that Bridgewater is likely well aware that playing with the Saints and having Sean Payton as his head coach (and getting to learn behind Brees for at least 2 more years) is too good of a situation to pass up.
Regardless of what happens between now and next March, here's the biggest takeaway if you consider yourself a Saints fan this morning, which is that the Saints organization deserves to be universally praised for aggressively preparing for their future.
Some Saints fans were a bit skeptic on Social Media yesterday, given Bridgewater's only 2 years removed from that gruesome injury at the end of the 2016 NFL Pre-Season with Minnesota, when he suffered a dislocated knee and a torn ACL after he went down during a non-contact drill at practice that nearly ended up costing him to lose his entire leg, because of the severe damage to the arteries.
The worst case in an injury like the one that Bridgewater had is known as “arterial strangulation,” which would cut off blood flow to the leg and possibly require amputation.
But clearly his recent Pre-Season performance for the Jets was confirmation that he is fully healed, which was why New York began considering trade offers from interested teams, for his services.
The inevitable and eventual retirement for Brees is something that the team has been aware was coming for some time, but previous attempts to start "grooming" an heir apparent (Garrett Grayson) have been notable failures.
And despite the "bounce back" performances last weekend of back-ups Tom Savage and Taysom Hill, the organization obviously realizes that neither player was going to emerge as a potential long-term solution.
Now with Bridgewater in the fold, the Saints finally have a QB with the capability to start in the NFL, and the tools and skill-set necessary to become a really good one at that.
If they can sign him to a long-term deal within the next 8 months or so, it means that yesterday's trade was the smartest move that they could have ever made.