Organized team activities are in full swing around the NFL, including for the New York Jets.
As usual, the quarterback position is a big focus in New York. The Jets did surrender three second-round picks to move up from No. 6 to No. 3 in the draft, where they landed USC's Sam Darnold. Darnold is not necessarily expected to start right away -- that position seems likely to be filled by Josh McCown, the team's bridge QB. But it's the other quarterback in New York who has been making news this weekend.
Apparently, Teddy Bridgewater looks fantastic at OTAs.
It is just amazing that none of the QB needy teams signed Bridgewater as a 2 who could compete to be a 1. Huge missed opportunity. A number of teams that will regret that. I’m told he has looked outstanding. This will be a different version of Dion Lewis if he stays healthy.— Joe Banner (@JoeBanner13) May 27, 2018
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From the Daily News:
Bridgewater was the best quarterback on the field on the first day of the Jets' organized team activities, a promising sign for a guy who had a solid start to his career before a mishap in practice nearly cost him that career. He was fluid in his drop-backs without a trace of a limp. He was smooth on a designed roll-out to his right on one of his nine snaps in 11-on-11 team drills.
If you didn't know any better, you'd think that he was never injured.
It's still early -- very early -- but one player in particular has generated a legitimate buzz at One Jets Drive -- quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
The organization couldn't be happier with Bridgewater, one of the bright spots in Week 1 of OTA practices. Not only did he perform well in the first practice, open to the media, but he maintained it throughout the week. While it's too soon to wage a "Teddy-should-be-starting" campaign -- his surgically repaired knee won't be truly tested until he gets hit in a preseason game -- it creates some interesting options for the Jets.
When they made a one-year, low-cost investment in Bridgewater, they did so with the belief that he could be flipped for a draft pick under the right circumstances. That's still on the table; his trade value is trending upward. Or they could decide to keep him because, if he stays healthy, he might be the best quarterback on the team in 2018.
The way I see it, one of two things is true here.
The first thing that could be true is that Bridgewater really does look fantastic and is the Jets' best quarterback right now. I prefer this option because anyone who doesn't want good things for Teddy Bridgewater after what he's gone through is a monster. To come back from his injury and lock down a starting job would be a heck of a story, and it would be great for the Jets, too.
The other thing that's possibly true is that this is OTAs and Bridgewater looks great ... and the Jets know they have an incentive to make it known just how great he looks. No matter what happens with Bridgewater this season, Darnold is the future in New York. You don't trade three second-round picks to make a guy your backup to someone you signed for one year and $6 million.
Bridgewater could easily be the team's bridge starter this year if he looks like the best player in camp, but McCown is also fully capable of filling that role. The difference is McCown is going to be 39 years old later this summer and likely worth next to nothing on the trade market. Bridgewater is 25 and only a few years removed from being a first-round pick. There's upside aplenty there, and he could potentially help the Jets recoup some of the investment they made in Darnold if he looks good and somebody decides he's their answer at QB during camp.
This scenario might sound familiar because it's pretty much exactly what happened with the Eagles, Sam Bradford, and Carson Wentz, when Bridgewater himself was injured two years ago. Suddenly, the Vikings needed a starter, and they sent the Eagles their first- and fourth-round picks in exchange for Bradford. The Eagles, who had just traded two firsts, a second, a third, and a fourth to move up for Wentz, surely appreciated the recouping of picks for a quarterback who was not in their long-term plans. If all works out for the Jets, they could pull off the same thing. Or, of course, Teddy could be the guy they've been looking for. He's still 25, after all.