Saints head coach Sean Payton said Thursday that Bridgewater is locked in as the team's top backup quarterback and would be first in line to start if Drew Brees were unavailable at any point this season, Luke Johnson of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
Given that second-year signal-caller Taysom Hill is unproven at the NFL level outside of preseason action, there was never much doubt that Bridgewater would capture the top backup role after the Saints acquired him from the Jets on Aug. 29. It's more noteworthy, however, that Payton indicated Bridgewater entered Week 1 as the team's top backup, with the coach praising the 25-year-old for how quickly he picked up the playbook. Though Bridgewater has apparently impressed the Saints' staff in practices and in the film room, it's difficult to envision him logging meaningful snaps this season with Brees being one of the NFL's more durable starters over the last several years.
With Sam Darnold making a bid for the starting job and Josh McCown also on their roster, the Jets always figured to explore trade options for Bridgewater, who boosted his value by completing 28 of 38 passes for 316 yards with two touchdowns and one interception this preseason. The 26-year-old isn't exactly getting the opportunity he'd been hoping for, as he'll be stuck behind Drew Brees in New Orleans this season. It's unclear if the Saints view Bridgewater as a potential long-term successor or merely a one-year insurance policy. Whatever the case, Bridgewater is signed to a one-year, $6 million contract, of which $500,000 has already been paid by the Jets.
Bridgewater completed 10 of 15 passes for 127 yards, a touchdown and an interception in Thursday's 15-13 loss to Washington. He also rushed once for four yards in the Week 2 preseason contest.
Bridgewater played the entire second half after rookie Sam Darnold got all three of New York's first-half possessions. The highlight of Bridgewater's night was a 16-yard touchdown pass to Charone Peake. Josh McCown didn't get any reps at all in this one, so it's difficult to judge the status of New York's three-man quarterback competition at this point. Bridgewater's definitely in the mix to be the Week 1 starter, though.
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.
|Bye: Week 6|
|7||10/21/18||@ BAL||4:05 pm|
|8||10/28/18||@ MIN||8:20 pm|
|10||11/11/18||@ CIN||1:00 pm|
|13||11/29/18||@ DAL||8:20 pm|
|14||12/9/18||@ TB||1:00 pm|
|15||12/17/18||@ CAR||8:15 pm|
|2018||New Orleans Saints||1||0||0||0||---||0||---||0||0||0||0/0||0||0||---|
|2018||New Orleans Saints||1||0||3||-3||-1.0||-1||0||0||0|
|2018||New Orleans Saints||1||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2018||New Orleans Saints||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|