By trading for Teddy Bridgewater, the New Orleans Saints are re-emphasizing their message that they are ready to win now.
The Saints and Jets engineered a trade Wednesday that sends the backup quarterback and a sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft to New Orleans in exchange for a third-round draft pick, per Albert Breer. New York gets good compensation for a low-risk, high-reward move this offseason, and the Saints gain insurance for their aging franchise quarterback.
Bridgewater went 28-of-38 passing this preseason for the Jets, racking up 316 passing yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Though the former Vikings first-round pick played exceptionally well for New York, the team had a veteran backup in Josh McCown and the quarterback of the future in No. 3 draft pick Sam Darnold, who will start in Week 1.
The Saints had Tom Savage, Taysom Hill and J.T. Barrett behind 39-year-old Drew Brees, who signed a two-year contract extension this offseason that binds him to the team through 2019. Hill’s quarterback play (combined with his special teams savvy) has excited New Orleans, but should anything happen to Brees this season, there was minimal confidence that any of those three quarterbacks would lead the Saints to the playoffs.
New Orleans struck gold in the 2017 draft with running back Alvin Kamara and cornerback Marshon Lattimore, the reigning rookies of the year for their respective side of the ball. The team also has Michael Thomas, arguably the best receiver 25 years or younger in the league, and defensive end Cameron Jordan, who’s coming off his first-team All Pro season. New Orleans has all these weapons while competing in the NFC South, which has two of the past three NFC champions and is widely considered to be the toughest division in football right now. Throw in the fact that the Saints gave up next year’s first-round pick to move up in the 2018 draft to grab Marcus Davenport, and it’s easy to see how these Saints are in full win-now mode.
So, should something happen to the aging Brees, the franchise has peace of mind knowing it has a backup in Bridgewater, who has shown little to no signs of rust from his catastrophic knee injury suffered just before the start of the 2016 season. That’s an especially interesting proposition considering the Super Bowl was won with a backup, but only after the Eagles beat backup Case Keenum and the Vikings.
The Jets, meanwhile, get a second-day draft pick for a quarterback they only paid $1 million to ($500,000 in signing bonus and another $500,000 in a workout bonus).