Bridgewater last saw significant playing time during the 2015 season, notching 3,231 yards and a 14:9 TD:INT ratio as the Vikings' starting signal-caller. A devastating knee injury essentially robbed him of two seasons, but he will get another crack at a starting job in New York during 2018. Bridgewater has reportedly impressed early in offseason workouts and he should remain in the mix during training camp, but the presence of third-overall pick Sam Darnold on the roster likely limits his future upside.
Bridgewater (knee) has been a standout performer during the first week of OTAs, ESPN's Rich Cimini reports.
The most important takeaway here is that the left knee Bridgewater had surgically repaired back in September of 2016 is no longer bothering him. New York is still hoping that third overall pick Sam Darnold will show enough readiness for the NFL to start right away, but Bridgewater could certainly beat out 38-year-old incumbent Josh McCown if Darnold needs more seasoning. Don't expect this quarterback battle to be settled until preseason at the earliest.
Bridgewater (knee) participated in team drills during OTAs on Tuesday, Connor Hughes of NJ.com reports.
Bridgewater was the second quarterback to take snaps during team drills after Josh McCown, with rookie Sam Darnold bringing up the rear, but that order is likely insignificant this early in the offseason. Regardless, it's another encouraging sign for the quarterback in his recovery that he is continuing to be a participant in the Jets' offseason programs, especially considering that reports surfaced in March that Bridgewater may be held out of the majority of offseason training. Those concerns seem to have been put to bed here. Bridgewater said his surgically repaired left knee "feels great" after Tuesday's drills. As Bridgewater's health improves, he'll continue battling for positioning on New York's quarterback depth chart with McCown and Darnold.
It was reported at the end of March there was a chance Bridgewater wouldn't be able to take part in the team's offseason program, though the fifth-year quarterback was able to make enough progress in his recovery to get back on the field for some throwing drills. The exact level of his participation is still somewhat unclear, but it's an encouraging sign for Bridgewater nonetheless. While it appears he's on track to be at full strength in the near future, the Jets did add Sam Darnold during the recent 2018 NFL Draft, to go along with holdover Josh McCown (hand), which means Bridgewater will likely be stuck fighting for the No. 3 job.
General manager Mike Maccagnan confirmed Monday that Bridgewater (knee) may not be a participant in the offseason program, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. "That injury may take some time to fully recover from," Maccagnan said. "If all things go well, you guys will have a chance to see him out there to throw this spring."
Maccagnan referenced the "risk-reward" of a signing like Bridgewater, who has taken just nine in-game snaps since tearing the ACL and dislocating the kneecap in his left knee on Aug. 30, 2016. The Jets are hopeful that the program set up by their training staff will help Bridgewater return to the level of play he exhibited in 2014 and 2015, when he averaged 7.24 yards per attempt, posted 28 touchdowns versus 21 interceptions and averaged 4.4 yards per carry in 29 appearances. As the offseason continues, the team will trust in veteran Josh McCown under center, with the potential addition of a QB in the draft threatening the roster spots of Bridgewater, who is guaranteed just $500,000 on his one-year deal, 2015 fourth-round pick Bryce Petty and/or 2016 second-round selection Christian Hackenberg.
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