Bridgewater made five starts for the Saints in 2019 after Brees suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb. He threw for 1,205 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions over that stretch, with New Orleans going 5-0.
Bridgewater's gruesome knee injury in 2016 significantly disrupted his career. He didn't play at all that season and made one appearance for the Minnesota Vikings toward the end of the 2017 campaign.
Following his trade to the Saints in August 2018, the 27-year-old started to rebuild his on-field reputation. Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo ranked him as the 19th-best free agent available this spring:
"He filled in admirably for Brees, winning all five starts while grading at 73.0 overall to go with a passer rating of 99.1. Bridgewater got more comfortable every week, attacking down the field and showing signs of his early-career self. At the very least, Bridgewater has put himself back in the conversation for a starting job with the understanding that he's likely going to limit the turnover-worthy plays (2.1% was seventh-lowest in 2019) to go with a low percentage of big-time throws (2.9% ranked 28th), but that skillset could play in a situation with a strong defense and surrounding talent."
Positioning Bridgewater as a franchise quarterback would still be risky given how little he has played since his Pro Bowl season in 2015. His numbers from 2019 were encouraging more so than exceptional.
Dak Prescott, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and Ryan Tannehill are all free agents as well, but their availability could be limited. Prescott and Tannehilll are eligible for the franchise tag, while Brady (42) and Rivers (38) are unlikely to join a team that isn't firmly in Super Bowl contention.
Bridgewater is the same age Kirk Cousins was when Cousins opened 2015 as the Washington Redskins' starter. Teams that strike out on the best players at the position or don't have a high pick in the 2020 draft would be wise to give him a shot.