NFL Jets deal Bridgewater to Saints, pin hopes on rookie

Teddy Bridgewater was traded by the New York Jets to New Orleans on August 29, 2018 (AFP Photo/ELSA)
Teddy Bridgewater was traded by the New York Jets to New Orleans on August 29, 2018 (AFP Photo/ELSA)

New York (AFP) - Teddy Bridgewater was traded by the New York Jets to New Orleans on Wednesday, giving the Saints a solid backup to veteran quarterback Drew Brees and the Jets a rookie starter in Sam Darnold.

Bridgewater, whose career was jeopardized by a left knee injury two years ago, had impressive pre-season performances. But with Darnold developing quickly, the 2014 Rookie of the Year became a $6 million insurance policy the Jets no longer needed.

"We're excited to add Teddy Bridgewater to our team," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "We look forward to working with him and watching him continue to develop as a player."

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The 25-year-old passer completed 28-of-38 tosses for 316 yards and two touchdowns with an interception in pre-season work for the Jets.

"In his time with us, Teddy was the consummate professional, a great teammate and a tremendous leader," Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said. "He worked diligently with our medical staff and made tremendous strides along the way. We wish him nothing but success in the future."

The Saints went 11-5 last year, falling to Minnesota in the second round of the NFL playoffs, but are retooled for another run at the title beyond 39-year-old quarterback Drew Brees, among the league's most prolific passers with 70,445 career yards.

The move, in which the Jets obtain a third-round NFL Draft pick and also ship a ninth-round choice to New Orleans, leaves 21-year-old Darnold to guide the Jets into a new era when they open the NFL season at Detroit on September 10.

"The more he plays, the quicker the football decisions come. That's good to see from him," said Jets coach Todd Bowles. "He's learning from his mistakes. He's seeing things as he goes. As a rookie, you're going to see things for the first time. You're going to have to make football decisions."

Darnold, selected third in this year's NFL Draft, will be asked to lift a team that went 5-11 the past two seasons into the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 campaign. The Jets' only Super Bowl victory came half a century ago.

He made a strong pre-season start by completing 64.4 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and one interception.

Darnold will be 97 days past his 21st birthday when he takes the field in Detroit, the youngest quarterback in the modern era to start a season opener.

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