Teddy Bridgewater

AFC East Notes: Jets, Darnold, Dolphins

If it wasn’t apparent Thursday night, when Sam Darnold received his first preseason start, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv notes many in the Jets organization want the rookie to start in Week 1. Taking this route would likely mean Gang Green finding a trade partner for Teddy Bridgewater, and given the way he’s looked thus far, there are surely some teams who will be interested.

However, Vacchiano adds that Bridgewater “intrigues” Todd Bowles. Josh McCown isn’t likely to receive much preseason work, but Vacchiano notes that’s not indicative of his performance. Bowles observed McCown work throughout last season, so he knows what he has in the 39-year-old incumbent.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • A few Dolphins players on the bubble have made a case for strong consideration in the past couple of weeks, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Suddenly, players previously thought to be facing long odds like defensive end Jonathan Woodard and wide receiver Francis Owusu have a real chance at making the cut. If Owusu makes the cut, that could spell bad news for former third-round pick Leonte Carroo.
  • More from Jackson, who writes that the Dolphins are unlikely trade for Bridgewater, despite their previous interest in him. The Jets QB is on a one-year deal worth $5MM and could make a lot more through incentives, so the Dolphins are unlikely to pay out that contract and give up a draft pick unless a big need develops. That need has yet to develop as Ryan Tannehill is healthy and David Fales continues to look solid in reserve.
  • On Friday morning, the Patriots learned that first-round pick Isaiah Wynn is done for the season.

Sam Robinson contributed to this post.

Jets Mulling Teddy Bridgewater Trade

The Jets would be willing to trade Teddy Bridgewater for the right price, Manish Mehta of the Daily News hears. However, there are some executives in the Jets’ front office that aren’t sold on the idea of moving the backup quarterback. 

Sam Darnold figures to start in the Jets’ preseason game against the Redskins on Thursday night, a sign that they are confident in the rookie’s abilities. If he continues to impress, Darnold could wind up as the starter with Josh McCown on hand to serve as insurance. That leaves Bridgewater, who is on a one-year contract, without much of a role for Gang Green.

Still, the Jets face the Lions, Dolphins and Browns in the first eleven days of the season, and some believe that starting Darnold in that accelerated three-game set could be scarring for the rookie. In theory, Bridgewater could start instead, giving Darnold a chance to take over when the schedule resumes its normal pace. There’s also the fact that Bridgewater is well-liked in the Meadowlands – he has received rave reviews about his demeanor as well as his on-field performance.

If the Jets wind up dangling Bridgewater, they’ll have to find a way to get him on the field more in the preseason. Rival executives that spoke with Mehta say that they want to see more from the QB after he completed 7-of-8 passes in last week’s contest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Open To Teddy Bridgewater Trade

Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t shown the effects of his career-defining 2016 injury during his Jets stay just yet, and the team plans to play him extensively in its preseason opener Friday. While this will help the Jets determine where their free agent acquisition is at physically, it also could double as an audition.

The Jets are open to trading Bridgewater, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports, adding the circumstances need to be right.

For that to be the case, Gang Green will need to see that Sam Darnold is ready to take the reins. New York re-signed Josh McCown and added Bridgewater on the same day in March. The team wants to evaluate its No. 3 overall pick — whom Jets officials have repeatedly praised this offseason — during the preseason before pulling the trigger on a Bridgewater deal, Mehta reports. If Darnold impresses, the Jets are absolutely open to cashing in Bridgewater’s one-year contract in exchange for a draft pick.

However, if the USC-developed passer needs more time, the Jets would not hesitate to start Bridgewater in Week 1 and keep his $6MM salary on the books, per Mehta. Darnold’s been rumored as a viable candidate to open the season as the starter, but Bridgewater obviously has the experience edge and hasn’t shown signs he’s struggling physically.

I know that’s a question that comes up,” Mike Maccagnan recently said about whether he’d trade one of his veteran QBs. “Any time you have a number of players that you like at a position, it’s a natural thing (to think), ‘Hey, they may have a — I’m not saying we have a surplus … but some teams carry two quarterbacks. (So) you have the ability to potentially (think), ‘Oh, hypothetically we could do that.’

But our big thing, quite frankly, is to see how all these players develop. We like a lot of things that Teddy’s done this offseason. We obviously know Josh from having him last year and what he brings to the table. But I would say from that standpoint, it’s very early. We kind of want to see how these guys still grow and develop.”

Maccagnan also has said the Jets won’t have an issue carrying all three of these veterans into the regular season. The team has $16MM in cap space.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Vikings, Bakhtiari, Dupree

Prior to Teddy Bridgewater‘s career-defining injury at Vikings practice two Augusts ago, Mike Zimmer assumed the 2014 first-round pick would be his quarterback for the remainder of his head-coaching tenure. But the gruesome leg injuries Bridgewater suffered eventually led him out of the Twin Cities and to the Big Apple. Now, the 62-year-old head coach envisions Kirk Cousins, attached to a three-year contract, as the quarterback for the rest of his run as Vikings HC.

I always thought Teddy was going to be my quarterback for my career and these are the way things go,” Zimmer said during a Sirius XM Radio interview. “Now, I hope that Kirk is the quarterback for my career … and it’s long, too. Not one year.”

Zimmer expanded a bit on what drew him to Cousins, though Minnesota certainly wasn’t alone in the rare pursuit of a franchise-level quarterback on the market. But the Vikings weren’t viewed as the obvious choice from the outset, given Case Keenum‘s success in 2017.

Part of it was his accuracy,” Zimmer said of the Cousins pursuit during the interview. “He threw the ball into a lot of tight windows, and we’re seeing that here in camp. Very consistent in the things he was able to do. So I think that was part of it. You know, not too many times is a quarterback that’s really entering his prime at 28 (Cousins turns 30 later this month) get out on the free agency market that’s thrown for 4,000 (yards) for three straight years. I think he’s my fifth quarterback in five years, so I’m hoping we’ve stabilized the quarterback position.”

Here’s the latest from a Vikings rival and the AFC North.

  • The Packers received a scare when a cart transported cornerstone left tackle David Bakhtiari from the practice field Saturday night, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (on Twitter) Bakhtiari suffered a sprained left ankle. He won’t return to action immediately, but at this point, it doesn’t look like the sixth-year lineman will miss regular-season time.
  • Bud Dupree suffered a setback this weekend and is in concussion protocol, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The Steelers will be without their starting right outside linebacker for a bit, per Fowler, after seeing the fourth-year player start camp strong. Anthony Chickillo and Keion Adams reside as the top backups, per Pittsburgh’s first 2018 depth chart, and will see more time while Dupree is sidelined. Adams was a 2017 seventh-round pick who did not play last season.
  • Jabrill Peppers kept his starting spot after the Browns released their first depth chart, but Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets the battle between the 2017 first-rounder and Derrick Kindred is not over. Both continue to receive first-team reps opposite Damarious Randall, and Ulrich adds each will play plenty in three-safety looks this season (Twitter link). It would, however, be notable if Peppers couldn’t keep his starting job considering what the Browns invested in him. A 2016 fourth-rounder, Kindred’s started 15 NFL games.

AFC Notes: Browns, Jets, Bridgewater, Cardona

The Browns backfield is loaded with talent, including veteran Carlos Hyde, pass-catcher Duke Johnson, and second-rounder Nick Chubb. While Hyde is expected to sit atop the depth chart at the beginning of the preseason, running backs coach Freddie Kitchens said his team will ultimately be “riding the hot hand” next season.

“Ultimately, all three of those guys can run our running game,” Kitchens told Andrew Gribble of ClevelandBrowns.com. “Duke can do a few more things in the passing game. Ultimately, we feel like that is a position of strength. Coach (Bill) Parcells taught me a long time ago, do not turn a position of strength into a weakness. You would like to keep it a strength, and we are fortunate that is where we are.”

Despite Hyde getting early-down looks and Johnson playing a major role in the passing game, Kitchens still believes that his rookie back will end up being an x-factor for Cleveland.

“He has a great work ethic. He is physical in everything that he does,” Kitchens said “He will take a handoff, and the handoff is violent. I think that is a very unique perspective from a running back standpoint that everything he does is violent. I think that he brings that to the table.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the AFC…

  • Last preseason, Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan traded Sheldon Richardson, satisfying the team’s needs for receiver depth (he added wideout Jermaine Kearse) and future trade assets (2018 second-rounder) along the way. Could he make another deal this year? ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini believes there’s a possibility. The team has a need at pass rusher, and the writer points to Broncos linebacker Shane Ray and Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler as potential targets. Cimini also believes quarterback Teddy Bridgewater could end up being trade bait, but it’d require rookie Sam Darnold winning the backup gig.
  • Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona recently inked a four-year, $1MM (with $850K in bonuses), and ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss takes a look at some of the more lucrative long snapper deals around the NFL. Rams long snapper Jake McQuaide is the highest earner at the position, collecting $1.175MM each season. Meanwhile, Cardona’s $1MM in guarantees only rivals the deal signed by Jaguars back Carson Tinker.
  • Yesterday, the Patriots signed their top draft pick, offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn. Following the deal, first-round running back Sony Michel is the team’s only unsigned draft pick.

Jets Notes: Bridgewater, Woody Johnson, Wilcox, Smith

Teddy Bridgewater has only been a Jet for a couple of months now, but trade rumors have been swarming pretty much non-stop since Bridgewater first signed with the team. Many have speculated that the New York could look to move Bridgewater if he shows he’s healthy during the preseason but the Jets decide to roll with Josh McCown and Sam Darnold as their quarterbacks.

But what kind of compensation could the Jets expect to get assuming he plays well in the preseason? The team could expect “maybe a third-rounder or fourth-rounder in a trade” according to Darryl Slater of NJ.com. Slater thinks that’s the maximum the team could get because Bridgewater is only on a one year deal. As for which teams may inquire about Bridgewater, Slater thinks it will come down to which team suffers a “quarterback injury in the preseason.”

Here’s more on the Jets:

  • When Jets owner Woody Johnson accepted an ambassadorship to the United Kingdom, he ceded control of the team to his brother Chris. Whenever Woody returns from his appointment, it’s unlikely that Chris goes away quietly, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN (Twitter link). Cimini says “I can’t see Chris just walking away. He’s really invested in the team.” Cimini goes on to speculate that the Jets may work out a situation where “both are involved.”
  • Slater thinks the recently signed J.J. Wilcox has an inside track at a roster spot. Among the safeties currently competing for the backup roles behind Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, Slater thinks Doug Middleton “could be the odd man out.”
  • Slater thinks both 2015 second-rounder Devin Smith and 2016 seventh-rounder Charone Peake are on the roster bubble as the team’s wide receiver depth chart sorts itself out. Smith has been plagued by injuries since entering the league as the 37th overall pick.

AFC East Notes: Bridgewater, Gillislee, Bills

When Teddy Bridgewater went down with a devastating knee injury during Vikings training camp in 2016, many doubted he would ever play again. Bridgewater’s journey has been a rollercoaster since then, from being the Vikings franchise quarterback to their third stringer by the time he returned, but he’s back on the field now and has already proved many doubters wrong.

After reportedly coming close to losing his leg entirely, Bridgewater is now a member of the Jets, signed to a one-year deal in March. Although the Jets used the third overall pick on Sam Darnold and still have Josh McCown ahead of Bridgewater for now, Bridgewater apparently has a “legitimate” shot at being the Jets’ 2018 starting quarterback, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN (Twitter link).

Although very little of Bridgewater’s 2018 salary is guaranteed, he’s apparently showed well in OTAs thus far, making it more unlikely the Jets cut him. The key for Bridgewater will be his healthy and “showing his knee is sound” according to Cimini, who adds that nobody will “know that until he gets hit in a preseason game.” If Bridgewater does manage to win the Jets’ starting job this summer, it would be one of the most incredible comeback stories in recent memory.

Here’s more from around the AFC East:

  • The Patriots’ running back room is currently a bit crowded, and at least one notable name will need to be cut before the regular season begins. That’s most likely to be Mike Gillislee according to Doug Kyed of NESN.com, who says he likes Jeremy Hill‘s chances of making the team better than Gillislee’s, and adds that he has “some questions about Gillislee’s effort after some drill work in OTAs.” A much-hyped free agent acquisition last offseason, Gillislee now appears to be on the outside looking in for a roster spot as he’s buried behind Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Brandon Bolden, and possibly Hill.
  • Bills rookie first-rounder Tremaine Edmunds “seems destined to start from Day 1” according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Despite being just 19 when he was drafted, Edmunds is expected to be an every down player at middle linebacker for the Bills. La Canfora adds that rookie quarterback Josh Allen was “hardly perfect” in Thursday’s OTA session, and that he’s likely to begin the season on the bench behind A.J. McCarron. While Edmunds could make some of the Bills’ veteran linebackers expendable, the Bills will likely keep McCarron around since he’s due a relatively cheap $5MM salary, unless Allen is lights out during the preseason.
  • The Jets may target a veteran tight end towards the end of training camp, according to Daryll Slater of NJ.com. Slater points out that the Jets have a group of inexperienced young players at tight end, and the team will want to see how they perform this summer. If they don’t show well, the team will likely seek to bring in a veteran to help guide the young unit, writes Slater. The Jets let Austin Seferian-Jenkins walk to the Jaguars in free agency, and now have only a slew of unproven players at tight end.

AFC Notes: Bridgewater, Pats, Dareus

Teddy Bridgewater has looked very good in OTAs, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, and if his strong performance continues, the Jets could be faced with a difficult decision. They could trade Bridgewater — which was the plan when they signed him — or they could name him their starting QB for at least the beginning of 2018 while they continue to groom Sam Darnold. Starting Bridgewater would likely mean keeping three quarterbacks on the roster, as the nearly 39-year-old Josh McCown doesn’t really have any trade value. But head coach Todd Bowles, who is coaching for his job this year, will want to start the best quarterback he has, and he is a big believer in Bridgewater.

Let’s take a look at a few more rumors and notes from the AFC:

  • Cimini also details Christian Hackenberg‘s last few months with the Jets before he was shipped to the Raiders. We already knew that Bowles was not aware Hackenberg changed his throwing motion until after the fact, but Hackenberg first approached Jets QB coach Jeremy Bates about making the change, and Bates was skeptical. That caused some friction between the two men, and it forced Hackneberg to go outside the organization to seek help with his mechanics.
  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe points out how Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady continue to (needlessly) fan the flames of controversy that owner Robert Kraft keeps trying to extinguish, and that the apparent tension between Belichick and Brady may be one of the reasons why Brady has not attended spring practices. However, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says Brady’s absence has not created as big of a leadership void as one might expect, as younger players are taking a more active role in that regard and veteran players like Julian Edelman and Dont’a Hightower are back after their 2017 season was marred by injury.
  • The Broncos released C.J. Anderson last month, leaving Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson as the top candidates to become the team’s next No. 1 RB. However, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post says Royce Freeman, whom the team selected in the third round of last month’s draft, has the durability and history of production to suggest he can be an every-down back at the next level, and he will get a chance to make a major impact right away. His heavy collegiate workload could have contributed to his falling to the third round.
  • Marcell Dareus more than wore out his welcome in Buffalo, leading the Bills to ship him to the Jaguars before last year’s trade deadline. Dareus, though, found new life in Jacksonville, and per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk (citing Mike Kaye of First Coast News), Dareus continues to be a good soldier for the Jags. Head coach Doug Marrone said, “I’m very happy with the way he’s worked, the way he has come into camp. I think those are things he has done a much better job of than what maybe he had done in the past. I can appreciate that and see that in him.” That is not an insignificant statement, as Dareus’ effort in Buffalo seemed to evaporate after he signed his big-money extension, so perhaps he has matured and will continue to be a solid contributor to Jacksonville’s talented defensive front. Marrone, of course, was also Dareus’ coach in Buffalo during Dareus’ best two seasons to date (2013-14), so he has a pretty good reference point.

Latest On Jets’ Teddy Bridgewater

For the first time in two years, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is participating fully in OTAs (Twitter link via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com). Bridgewater took the field on Tuesday morning as the No. 2 QB behind last year’s starter Josh McCown. The early word is encouraging as he ran a few bootleg passes and showed no signs of favoring his surgically-repaired knee. 

[RELATED: Jets’ Terrelle Pryor Dealing With Injury]

The Jets signed Bridgewater to a one-year, $6MM in March with the potential to make significantly more based on playtime and performance. However, the $500K signing bonus in the deal represents the only guaranteed portion of the deal. Considering the presence of McCown and No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold, it seems like Bridgewater will have to show that he is no less than 100% healthy in order to keep his place on the roster.

During his two years as the Vikings’ starting quarterback, Bridgewater was competent, but not a world-beater. In 28 starts, Bridgewater completed 65% of his passes and averaged 3,075 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Since 2015, he has attempted just two passes in live action.

While Bridgewater was able to take the field on Tuesday morning, fellow newcomer Terrelle Pryor was not a participant thanks to an ankle injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Jets’ Teddy Bridgewater, Christian Hackenberg

Not many teams have much attention devoted to their third-, fourth-, and fifth-string quarterbacks, but then again, not many teams have had a quarterback situation quite like that of the Jets in recent years. Now that Gang Green has Josh McCown and Sam Darnold entrenched as its top two signal-callers — and now that Bryce Petty is no longer in the picture — there is some intrigue as to what the team will do with Teddy Bridgewater and Christian Hackenberg.

Both players, of course, come with plenty of uncertainty. The biggest question mark surrounding Bridgewater is his health, and Brian Costello of the New York Post calls Bridgewater’s ability to be a full participant in the team’s OTAs that begin on May 22 “the biggest mystery of the spring.” When asked what the former Viking will be able to do in OTAs, head coach Todd Bowles said, “I can’t give you 100 percent. I’ll see when it gets to that. Then I’ll be able to tell you.” 

Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, reading between the lines, says the odds are that Bridgewater will be limited in some fashion. Indeed, when asked if Bridgewater has been running with teammates in conditioning drills, Bowles said simply, “[h]e’s been working out.”

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, though, says that even if Bridegwater is not able to fully participate in OTAs, it should not be cause for concern. Mehta tweets that Bridgewater is on schedule in his recovery from the catastrophic knee injury he suffered in 2016, and he may even be a little ahead of schedule.

If that’s the case, that could spell the end of Hackenberg’s time in New York. As Cimini indicates, Hackenberg’s days appear numbered, though the Penn State product would stand a better chance of sticking around if Bridgewater’s health remains in doubt. In an effort to jumpstart his career, Hackenberg — who has not taken a regular season snap in his first two seasons in the league — has recently revamped his throwing motion.

Even more interesting is the fact that Hackenberg made the change without consulting the team first, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv. As Bowles said, “[Hackenberg] hasn’t talked to me about it. He’s just worked on it and I learned about it after the fact.” Bowles also did not give a definitive answer as to whether the change in mechanics would help, or why Hackenberg waited to long to make the change.

Given Hackenberg’s pedigree — and perhaps his new mechanics, which he has worked on with quarterback guru Jeff Christiensen — he will certainly generate some interest if and when the Jets give him his walking papers. But it’s still a little too early to say whether he or Bridgewater will be the odd man out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.