If Sunday was truly an audition for Teddy Bridgewater before free agency, he cost himself some money.
Teams will look at the whole picture when it comes to Bridgewater, not just what happened in Week 17 when he got a start for the New Orleans Saints. But what he did Sunday against the Carolina Panthers will be part of the equation. And it wasn’t good.
Bridgewater was 14-of-22 for 118 yards, a touchdown and an interception in a 33-14 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Bridgewater got a fourth-quarter touchdown that made his day look a little better.
Bridgewater was playing for a Saints team that had nothing to play for, which will be factored into his poor performance. New Orleans had the No. 1 seed clinched, which is why Drew Brees was inactive. But the Panthers didn’t have anything to play for either. And while the Saints sat some starters, they didn’t sit everyone. Top receiver Michael Thomas played into the fourth quarter, among other key players. It wasn’t like Bridgewater, in his first notable regular-season action since a freak knee injury before the 2016 season, had nobody out there with him.
And Bridgewater wasn’t even the best quarterback on the field in Sunday’s game. That was the Panthers undrafted rookie Kyle Allen, who was a free agent most of the first half of the season and was on the practice squad until a couple weeks ago when Cam Newton was shut down for the season.
Bridgewater will be one of the most talked-about figures of the 2019 offseason. With a thin draft class at quarterback and not much in free agency, Bridgewater could be the most sought-after quarterback of the offseason. He’s just 26 years old with a first-round pedigree. He played very well for the Jets in the preseason, prompting a trade to the Saints, though the level of hype for Bridgewater’s preseason was a little out of control.
Bridgewater will still be a hot name in March. Supply and demand dictates that. And one quiet game in a meaningless afternoon for the Saints doesn’t mean Bridgewater can’t be a good starter next season. But Sunday was Bridgewater’s first real NFL action in a long time, and it’s hard to say it went well.
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