It wasn’t that long ago that New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was the franchise QB of the Minnesota Vikings and a symbol of hope for one of the most talented rosters in the NFL.
Unfortunately, the promising start of Bridgewater’s NFL career under center was ended following a horrific, non-contact knee injury during training camp in 2016. Bridgewater tore his anterior cruciate ligament and dislocated his knee, which had his teammates in tears as the trainers attended to him.
After a lengthy rehabilitation process, Bridgewater would return to throw two late-season passes for the Vikings in 2017, but it was clear that his time in Minnesota was coming to an end. 2018 served as a rebirth of sorts; after a successful preseason with the New York Jets, Bridgewater was traded (along with a 2019 sixth-round draft choice) to the New Orleans Saints for a 2019 third-round selection.
A steep asking price for a backup QB, questions quickly arose as to what the future may hold for Bridgewater.
The 2018 season didn’t do much to answer that question. On a team with an all-time great in Drew Brees, playing time was obviously scarce. The presence of “Mr. Do it All” quarterback Taysom Hill added to the uncertainty as to Bridgewater’s part of the Saints’ future plans. The 2019 season was off to a similar start, as he sat patiently waiting for his next opportunity.
Brees’ Week 2 thumb injury quickly altered Bridgewater’s career trajectory. Some questioned whether Bridgewater or Hill would get the nod in Brees’ absence. The answer soon became apparent, seeing Bridgewater start the next three games for the Saints. The first two starts were so-so – Bridgewater struggled with similar issues that he has throughout his career, namely an ability to push the ball down the field.
His third start saw more attractive results, boasting perhaps Bridgewater’s best game of his NFL career. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in a 31-24 victory, Bridgewater proceeded to complete 26 of 34 throws for 314 yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers have reconfigured expectations now for the soon to be 27-year-old quarterback, especially with the uncertain future of the 40-year-old Brees.
Bridgewater is currently set to hit the free agent market after the 2019 season, begging the question of what is next for him. The results this season would suggest that he may be a good fit to return to the Saints. When asked about his recent opportunity, Bridgewater seems to be enjoying his new challenges.
“I am enjoying it,” Bridgwater explained. “Living in the moment. I’m confident in doing so. These guys around here, we feed off of each other and it’s a confident group.”
After Bridgewater’s most recent performance, the next chapter of his once-promising career is becoming more and more interesting. Of course, that journey may again be put on hold, as Brees has every intention of returning before the Saints Week 9 bye.
At that point, Bridgewater will most certainly be relegated back to the primary backup role. But let’s not put that on Bridgewater right now; he’s currently just enjoying the ride.
“We’re all out there competing for one thing, and that’s to win football games, and we’ve been able to win a couple of football games these past couple of weeks, and hopefully we can keep this thing going.”
Not many would have imagined Bridgewater being in this position three years ago when his career was believed to be over.
We’ll soon discover what the future ultimately holds for Bridgewater. Could it be with the Saints in a post-Brees era? Only time will tell. For now, he’s served as an excellent injury replacement and kept the Saints afloat in the absence of Brees.