The Best Potential Landing Spots for Teddy Bridgewater Next Season
Bridgewater is, after all, only 27 years old and has appeared to earn another chance at being "the guy" for a team.
In a quarterback-starved league, the former first-round pick is everything teams want. He's shown he can rebound from that devastating injury suffered on a practice field in Minnesota. He's shown he can lead an offense (67.9 completion percentage with nine touchdowns and two interceptions in place of Brees over nine games this year). And he's already handled standing as the face of a franchise once.
Big opportunity No. 2 for Bridgewater likely features a massive payday and his choice of destination. The following teams can make the payday happen, have or can have a strong supporting cast for his talents and give him a surefire chance at being a franchise player once more.
This wouldn't be the first time Bridgewater finds himself on a defensive-minded NFC contender.
In all likelihood, it's going to take a contending team to pry away Bridgewater from New Orleans, and the Chicago Bears are one of the few that make some sense.
The Bears have an interesting supporting cast surrounding the passer, including running back David Montgomery and his 889 yards and six scores from last season. Wideouts Allen Robinson II and Anthony Miller make for a strong one-two combo as targets, and the complementary Khalil Mack-led defense sure isn't a bad talking point.
Those Bears have likely soured on the Mitchell Trubisky experience after another middling year that seemed to hold things back. But they don't have a high-profile pick to add a rookie yet have $20-plus million in cap space to lure in a veteran.
In the interests of contending now, this seems like a good marriage for both parties. If Bridgewater links up with an offensive guru in Matt Nagy, his next attempt at being a franchise passer could be a success.
Similar to other teams here, the Indianapolis Colts might be ready to move on from their current starter—and it would likely create a situation with some appeal to Bridgewater.
The Colts always seem to rank near the top of the NFL in cap space, and the front office there has been rather conservative with it, building their own way. That would change if Chris Ballard and Co. want to cough up the cash for a potential franchise passer after Jacoby Brissett completed less than 60 percent of his passes with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions after Andrew Luck's retirement.
It might be hard for Bridgewater to say no if the money is right. Besides the prestige of the organization and consistency of the front office, he'd link up with weapons like T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle, as well as one of the better offensive lines in football.
Keep in mind the Colts enter the offseason with nearly $100 million to work with, meaning Bridgewater could make some requests. It's a malleable, already strong situation for him to enter.
Los Angeles Chargers
If the Los Angeles Chargers don't stick with Philip Rivers after his dip in play this past season, picking sixth in the 2020 draft might put them on the outside looking in at the top prospects.
Bridgewater might have a hard time saying no here, too, should the Chargers use some of that money earmarked for Rivers in the $56 million available in cap space.
While the Chargers stumbled to just five wins this year in a stunning downturn, Bridgewater would join an offense with a deep stable of running backs, a big-play tight end in Hunter Henry and perhaps most important of all, Keenan Allen, arguably the quietest No. 1 wideout in the league. It doesn't hurt to point out a defense simmering with elite talent like Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III.
Keep in mind that if Bridgewater joined up, he'd benefit from the high draft slots and cap space, assets only adding to the wealth of talent around him. There's a bit of a drawback in terms of fan attachment after the franchise moved, but it might also be hard to complain about playing in a city like Los Angeles, right?
The Miami Dolphins look quite a bit more appealing than one might think, besides the obvious beachy locale benefits.
While the Dolphins could always choose to use the fifth pick on a top passer, the superb culture in mid-construction right now by head coach Brian Flores might defer to a veteran like Bridgewater to keep things humming along.
And maybe the prospects of instant contention aren't there for Bridgewater out of the gates. But he'd still be linking up with a franchise visibly going in the right direction and sitting on not only an overflowing armory of draft picks, but about $94 million in cap space.
It's not like the current offensive depth chart flanking the quarterback isn't somewhat encouraging, either. Mike Gesicki slowly started to turn into a big-play weapon at tight end with five scores, and DeVante Parker finally assumed the role of No. 1 wideout with 1,200-plus yards and nine scores despite the middling play from under center.
This one is admittedly more of a long-term outlook for Bridgewater, but there might be some appeal in building something special over the years too, especially in an AFC East where it looks like Tom Brady's reign might have stalled, if not ended.
New Orleans Saints
At the end of the day, a Bridgewater return to the Saints is the best possible outcome, provided Brees makes it clear how many years he has left or outright hangs up the cleats.
Just ask Bridgewater.
"But being back in the South, being in this culture and this city — a city that's gone through a lot, and me as a person, I've gone through a lot as well — I feel like my personality, my foundation, it sits well with this city," Bridgewater said, according to NOLA.com's Luke Johnson. "I've been able to mesh well with this team, with this city."
There's a bit of "what else would he say?" here, sure. But the Saints embraced him when other teams wouldn't, and his now longstanding familiarity with his surroundings sure doesn't hurt. Keep in mind the Saints have a top-25 pick and can work free some cap space as necessary to make improvements to what looked like the best team in the NFC before an untimely upset.
None of this even dives deep on the surrounding roster. Michael Thomas just put up another 1,700-plus yards with nine scores, and Alvin Kamara is one of the NFL's best out of the backfield. As mentioned, Bridgewater completed nearly 68 percent of his passes over nine games, winning all but one in the process, so he's already got a taste of what's to come if he sticks in town.
Maybe this isn't as attractive or fun for fans outside of the greater New Orleans area as opposed to Bridgewater going somewhere else and shaking up the NFL, but it's clearly on the table and worth considering.