Bridgewater picks Saints over Dolphins

METAIRIE, La. — Free agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has decided to stay with the New Orleans Saints as their backup and potential successor to Drew Brees rather than pursue an immediate starting opportunity with his hometown Miami Dolphins, sources told ESPN’s Dianna Russini on Thursday.

Bridgewater, 26, agreed to a one-year $7.25 million deal that is worth up to $12.5 million with incentives, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Bridgewater, who is from Miami, met with the Dolphins at their team facility on Wednesday. But he ultimately decided to stay put in New Orleans, where he spent last season after the Saints traded a third-round pick to acquire him and a sixth-rounder from the New York Jets.

Bridgewater’s agreement comes on the 13-year anniversary of Brees signing his original deal in New Orleans. Brees’ choice also came down to the Saints and Dolphins — the irony of which was not lost on Bridgewater as he tweeted about his decision.

Like Brees, Bridgewater is also hoping for a renaissance in the second chapter of his career after suffering a major injury early in his career.

And Bridgewater is apparently willing to wait to find the perfect long-term fit, even though he has started just one game over the past three seasons.

Bridgewater began his career as the 32nd pick in the draft with the Minnesota Vikings in 2014 — and he led them to the playoffs with an 11-5 record in 2015. But then he suffered a devastating knee injury in the summer of 2016, tearing his ACL among other ligaments and structural damage.

It remains to be seen how much longer the 40-year-old Brees plans to continue playing — and how the long Saints plan to keep paying both QBs. But for now they wanted to keep their long-term options open with Bridgewater after being impressed by their brief time together.

Bridgewater signed a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the Jets as a free agent last March, and he impressed during the preseason. But he became expendable after they decided to go with rookie Sam Darnold as their starter.

Bridgewater then made his first start in nearly three years when the Saints rested Brees among other starters in Week 17. Although Bridgewater threw for just 118 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a loss to the Carolina Panthers, he continued to show teams that he was healthy again.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder went 6-6 as a rookie starter and 11-5 in 2015 before a playoff loss to Seattle. He threw for a total of 6,150 yards, 28 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in those two seasons.

The Saints carved out enough cap space to sign Bridgewater and newly-signed defensive tackle Malcom Brown by restructuring Brees’ deal — shifting $10.8 million in salary-cap costs from 2019 to 2020.

Source link