The New England Patriots will be exploring the quarterback market in 2020, and the question needs to be asked, would they be interested in Teddy Bridgewater?
The moment Drew Brees posted on Instagram that he was returning for the 2020 season, Teddy Bridgewater's tenure with New Orleans was over. Before Brees made his announcement Tuesday, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said that if Brees wanted to play football, they wanted him to do it with the Saints. New Orleans also has Taysom Hill who wants to be seen as a quarterback, and that leaves the QB room too full and Bridgewater as the odd man out.
In 2014 Bill Belichick put a real effort towards finding Tom Brady's eventual replacement. The Patriots ultimately drafted Jimmy Garoppolo who backed up Brady from 2014-2017 before being traded to San Francisco 49ers for a second round draft pick.
Belichick settled on Jimmy G, but Bridgewater was definitely in the running as Brady's possible replacement. Prior to the draft the Patriots brought Bridgewater to New England for a visit. Teams are only allowed to schedule 30 pre-draft visits, and Bridgewater being one of those candidates says that Belichick was seriously considering using a draft pick on Bridgewater.
Bridgewater was taken by the Minnesota Vikings 31st overall, and you have to wonder if Bridgewater fell to the second round, could he possibly have been Belichick's draft choice.
All of this doesn't mean that the Patriots are interested in signing Bridgewater for the 2020 season, but it tells us that at one point New England had an interest in Bridgewater.
When trying to figure out if there is interest between the Patriots and Teddy Bridgewater, some questions need to be answered. The most important question being, where is Tom Brady playing football in 2020?
Bridgewater started five games for the Saints when Brees went down with a thumb injury, and he returned to his backup role with a 5-0 record. To be fair there were people questioning whether the undefeated record was because of Bridgewater or Sean Payton. Payton has a reputation for putting his players in the best position for success. That's also why New England seems like the perfect match for Bridgewater. New England's offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has the same reputation as Payton, and both are known to elevate performances. That's why it's easy to imagine Bridgewater having success with the Patriots.
There are only a couple of issues that could stop a Patriots/Bridgewater marriage, and one of those is, would Bridgewater consider being a backup if the Patriots were able to re-sign Tom Brady. You don't win five games in five starts just to sit on the bench again. I have to believe that Bridgewater will only be interested in teams that he has the opportunity to start. If Brady does stay with New England, Bridgewater's chances of winning the starting job would be zero, and I just don't know if he would be ok with that.
The only way the Patriots could afford Bridgewater is if Tom Brady doesn’t re-sign with the Patriots. After his five game performance for New Orleans in 2019, it’s expected that Bridgewater could demand up to $20 million per season, which even if the Patriots had the cap space, wouldn’t make any sense to pay your backup that kind of money.
This is why the sooner the Patriots can resolve what’s going to happen with the Patriots, the better it will be for the team. Belichick can’t repeat what happened last season with Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots missed out on signing Jared Cook because Gronk hadn’t made a decision on whether or not he was returning to football, and Cook did not want to be the TE2 on the team. Two weeks later Gronkowski announced his retirement, and the Patriots played the 2019 season fielding a tight end group of Ben Watson, Matt Lacosse, and Ryan Izzo.
Worst case scenario for the Patriots in 2020 would be Brady taking too much time and signing somewhere else, and the Patriots being left with only Jarrett Stidham.
Bridgewater would be a fun addition to the Patriots, but a lot of things would have to happen. Even though there seems to be a good fit between New England and Teddy Bridgewater, the timing doesn’t seem to work at all.