NFL Free Agency kicks off on March 18th, which means we are inching closer to one of the most impactful days on the league’s calendar. Transactions are on the horizon!
Few players are likely going to draw as much attention on the open market as New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. With Drew Brees announcing he will return for another season, it seems likely that Bridgewater will test free agency.
There are definitely some teams that could use his talents.
When Brees went down with a thumb injury during the 2019 NFL regular season, Bridgewater filled in admirably for the 13-time Pro Bowler, leading the Saints to a 5-0 record in the games he started. He finished the season with a 67.9% completion percentage, an impressive 7.1 yards per attempt, nine touchdowns and two interceptions.
So which teams exactly should make a play for the 27-year-old?
1. Indianapolis Colts
Jacoby Brissett, Frank Reich and the Indianapolis Colts handled the 2019 NFL season about as well as anybody, considering their elite QB Andrew Luck decided to retire weeks before the start of the year, finishing with a 7-9 record.
It was made apparent, however, that Brissett is limited in what he can do as a passer. In Indy’s seven wins Brissett threw for over 205 yards just twice. In his 15 starts, he surpassed the 205-yard mark just six times — a fairly low bar to clear for NFL quarterbacks.
The Colts also have a good defense when healthy — which it rarely was in 2019 — as players like CB Kenny Moore, CB Quincy Wilson and DB Malik Hooker all missed periods of time with injuries.
Couple that with an offense that has playmakers in WR T.Y. Hilton and RB Marlon Mack, and you get a team that with Bridgewater at the helm could easily compete in a wide-open AFC South if they make good use of their $81 million+ in cap space this off-season.
2. Chicago Bears
Now, remember, this is a list of teams that should try to sign Bridgewater, not teams that are likely going to.
Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace must dread watching NFL highlights every Sunday. After all, he traded a king’s ransom to move up one spot in the draft to select Mitch Trubisky, passing on both Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes.
In 2019, Trubisky took a step back in the following statistical categories from the previous year: Passing yards, touchdown passes, rushing yards, yards per attempt and QB rating. However, the team seems set on having him start in 2020.
The Bears don’t need a top-5 player at QB, they have enough talent surrounding the position to be a contender. The team needs someone who can manage a game and make plays when needed — and judging him by his first three seasons in the league - it’s hard to label Trubisky as someone who can do that.
3. Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers haven’t built up a reputation of being heavy spenders, but with Philip Rivers departing there’s a hole to be filled at quarterback for the first time in 16 years.
Owners of the sixth-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Oregon QB Justin Herbert could be available, but putting your faith in a rookie QB right away — on a roster that is seemingly ready to win now — may not work.
Sure, Tyrod Taylor is a viable backup option, but with nearly $52-million in cap space to spend this spring, the club can afford to bring in Bridgewater.
The defense, when DB Derwin James is healthy, is a solid unit. The offense has some serious playmakers in the passing game with WR Keenan Allen, WR Mike Williams and TE Hunter Henry leading the way.
With a competent quarterback in his prime like Bridgewater, this club can compete in the AFC West. Will they spend up to make that happen? That is the better question.
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