Teddy Bridgewater

NFC Notes: Bridgewater, Saints, 49ers, Gragg, Buccaneers

Teddy Bridgewater had a dramatic free agency. He appeared all set to return to the Saints, when the Dolphins swooped in with a last second offer to be their starting quarterback. But in the end, he decided to return to New Orleans, potentially setting him up to take over for Drew Brees. In a recent interview with WWL Radio, Bridgewater elaborated on his decision to stay in the Big Easy, per Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. Bridgewater indicated it mostly had to do with how much he enjoyed his time in New Orleans, rather than about potential playing time.

“I told my agents every time that I talked to them that I haven’t stopped smiling since I arrived,” Bridgewater said. They made playing football fun, they made learning the game fun … and that’s something I appreciate. I was able to be part of that for 18 weeks last season, and it was nothing but positive things that occurred,” he continued. It sounds like Bridgewater has bought in to whatever the Saints are promising, and they clearly think very highly of him if they’re giving him $7.25MM to be their backup quarterback.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • The 49ers brought in tight end Chris Gragg for a workout, a source told Matt Maioccio of NBC Sports (Twitter link). An Arkansas product, Gragg was taken by the Bills in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. He spent the next four years in Buffalo, then was with the Jets during the 2017 offseason. Gragg has struggled with injuries, missing the entire 2016 and 2017 seasons while hurt. He spent all of last year out of the league, and this is the first we’ve heard of him in a while. Gragg had his most productive season in 2015, when he caught 12 passes for 150 yards. He’s unlikely to make much of an impact even if San Francisco does opt to sign him.
  • The Buccaneers are making a historic move. Tampa Bay is hiring Maral Javadifar and Lori Locust as the first full-time female assistant coaches in franchise history, the team announced in a release. Locust will be an assistant defensive line coach, while Javadifar will be an assistant strength and conditioning coach. The Bucs are now the first team in NFL history to have two women as full-time coaches. New Bucs coach Bruce Arians has emphasized the need for greater diversity on NFL coaching staffs, and is now practicing what he preaches. Arians had said he would do something like this, so it isn’t surprising.
  • The Saints are reportedly close to a deal that would bring Jared Cook to New Orleans, but they might not be done adding to their tight end group. The team is “paying close attention” to LSU tight end Foster Moreau today at his pro day, Larry Holder of The Athletic is told (Twitter link). Moreau caught 22 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns at LSU last year.

 

Saints Re-Sign Teddy Bridgewater

The Saints have re-signed quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the team announced. The news was first reported by Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

It’s a one-year, fully guaranteed deal worth $7.25MM for Bridgewater, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The pact has a maximum value of $12.5MM, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

The Dolphins were also interested in Bridgewater, and met with him when the free agent period opened on Wednesday. Miami likely could have offered Bridgewater a starting role, but he only would have joined the Dolphins for “life-changing money,” tweets Russini. Bridgewater may see himself as Drew Brees‘ heir apparent, although Brees has shown no signs of slowing down, and Bridgewater’s pact will only keep him with the Saints for a single season.

Bridgewater, of course, suffered a gruesome leg injury in 2016 that knocked him out of action for the following two seasons. He inked a one-year deal with the Jets last offseason, but was eventually dealt to the Saints for a third-round pick. Bridgewater started New Orleans’ final regular season game, completing 14-of-22 passes for 118 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

Bridgewater started 28 games for the Vikings from 2014-15, averaging 3,075 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions during that time. Among the 30 quarterbacks who attempted at least 500 passes in those two seasons, Bridgewater ranked 22nd in passer rating, 25th in adjusted net yards per attempt, and 29th in touchdown percentage

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Teddy Bridgewater Completes Visit With Dolphins

The Dolphins announced that their visit with free agent QB Teddy Bridgewater has concluded. However, no deal is in place at this time. Larry Holder of The Athletic, citing the South Florida Sun Sentinel, says Bridgewater had already turned down a two-year, $10MM offer from Miami.

This is a two-horse race, as Bridgewater is apparently deciding between a shot at starting for the rebuilding Dolphins or serving as a backup on the NFC powerhouse Saints. He has a one-year, $7MM offer in hand from New Orleans, but he is reportedly worried about the possibility that Sean Payton may not be with the club beyond this year.

On the other hand, as his offer from the Saints is only for one year, Payton’s status in 2020 may not be overly significant. Of course, if Bridgewater sticks around long enough, he could have an opportunity to step in as the Saints’ full-time starter when Drew Brees calls it a career.

The fact that New Orleans is only willing to offer a one-year deal at the moment suggests that the club may not be entirely sold on that prospect.

Latest On Saints, Bridgewater, Tannehill

The Saints have been linked to both Teddy Bridgewater and Ryan Tannehill as they search for a backup quarterback, and we have updates on both situations.

Bridgewater is reportedly deciding between deals from both New Orleans and Miami, but he may have concerns about head coach Sean Payton‘s longevity with the Saints. Payton has long been linked to a potential opening with the Cowboys, and Bridgewater may not be interested in re-signing with New Orleans if Payton isn’t going to be around, per Clarence Hill of the Star Telegram (Twitter link).

Meanwhile, Tannehill has been floated as a potential replacement if Bridgewater doesn’t re-sign with the Saints, but that may not be likely. A source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link) there’s “no way” Tannehill lands in New Orleans. New Orleans assistant general manager Jeff Ireland originally drafted Tannehill in Miami.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Saints’ Offer To Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater will reportedly meet with the Dolphins today, but he has a firm offer in hand. The Saints are willing to pay him a base value of around $7MM, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com.

With the Saints, Bridgewater would serve as the backup for and heir apparent to Drew Brees. However, the Dolphins have a starting job available and Bridgewater is from Miami. There’s reason to believe that Bridgewater would be interested, but there’s no word yet on whether he would entertain the idea of leaving the Saints.

Meanwhile, if Bridgewater does depart for Miami, the Saints will likely be interested in the man he’s replacing. New Orleans is expected to target Ryan Tannehill as Brees’ backup if Bridgewater leaves, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). There’s a connection in place for Tannehill, as he was originally drafted by now-Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Meeting With Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater has agreed to a new deal with the Saints, but it might not be in the books just yet. The Dolphins are making a late push to sign the quarterback, according to Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Indeed, Bridgewater is meeting with the Dolphins today, tweets Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, who notes reports of Bridgewater’s contract with New Orleans may have been premature.

With the Saints, Bridgewater would serve as the backup for and heir apparent to Drew Brees. However, the Dolphins have a starting job available and Bridgewater is from Miami. There’s reason to believe that Bridgewater would be interested, but there’s no word yet on whether he would entertain the idea of backing out of his Saints pact.

The Dolphins were believed to be eyeing former Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor for a starting role, but Taylor signed a two-year deal to become Philip Rivers‘ backup with the Chargers. Miami is fully expected to move on from Ryan Tannehill this offseason, either via trade or release, and embark on a “tanking” strategy for at least the next year or so. The club will still need someone under center, however, and the 26-year-old Bridgewater would give the Dolphins a youthful option with experience.

Bridgewater, of course, suffered a gruesome leg injury in 2016 that knocked him out of action for the following two seasons. He inked a one-year deal with the Jets last offseason, but was eventually dealt to the Saints for a third-round pick. Bridgewater started New Orleans’ final regular season game, completing 14-of-22 passes for 118 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

Bridgewater started 28 games for the Vikings from 2014-15, averaging 3,075 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions during that time. Among the 30 quarterbacks who attempted at least 500 passes in those two seasons, Bridgewater ranked 22nd in passer rating, 25th in adjusted net yards per attempt, and 29th in touchdown percentage

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints To Re-Sign Teddy Bridgewater

The Saints are expected to re-sign quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, according to Jane Slater of NFL.com (on Twitter). Bridgewater had a better offer from the Dolphins, Slater hears, but Bridgewater re-upped with New Orleans because he values the club’s locker room culture and the prospect of one day becoming the Saints’ starting QB.

While Slater says the Dolphins made a better offer, a source told Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald that the Dolphins “were not big players” for Bridgewater’s services (Twitter link).Bridgewater was widely considered to be the second-best quarterback available in free agency this year, behind Nick Foles.

The former first-round pick somehow managed to come back from a gruesome leg injury in 2016, return to full health, and reestablish himself as a promising talent. His last significant action came with the Vikings in 2015, his second NFL season, and he spent last season as Drew Brees‘ clipboard holder. Still, the Saints have been extremely impressed by Bridgewater’s maturity, leadership, and talent displayed on the practice field.

Bridgewater got the start for New Orleans in Week 17 last year with Brees resting for the playoffs. The results were mixed, but Bridgewater was playing without most of the starters on offense. Bridgewater signed with the Jets last offseason, and after New York drafted Sam Darnold, they decided to trade him. Bridgewater looked impressive during the preseason, and the Saints then traded for him. 

They gave up a third round pick for him, so they clearly believe in his potential. Still only 26, the Saints have plenty of time to wait and develop him. With Bridgewater off the market, the free agent quarterback market is now very thin. Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Fitzpatrick are now the two biggest names available, and they may have to settle for backup roles somewhere. Taylor has been linked to Miami recently as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Rumors: Okafor, Teddy, Armstead

A clause in Alex Okafor‘s Saints contract will allow for the veteran edge defender to gauge his worth again. Okafor signed a two-year deal to stay with the Saints earlier this year, but by registering three sacks this season, he can opt out of his contract and become a free agent, Nick Underhill of The Advocate reports. The starter opposite Cameron Jordan all season, Okafor collected four sacks in New Orleans’ first 15 games. He has until 11am on the final day of the 2018 league year to notify the Saints if he is to opt out of the deal, Underhill adds. Okafor was a free agent in both 2017 and ’18. The Saints drafted Marcus Davenport in the 2018 first round and have Jordan signed through 2020. Okafor would count $4.85MM against the Saints’ 2019 cap.

Were he to opt out, there might be more money awaiting. Okafor has stayed healthy this season and has 8.5 sacks in his two Saints years. With the top-tier free agents-to-be likely not set to leave their current teams, Okafor and second-tier peers will be the next-best options for teams looking to the market to upgrade. Of course, he has not cleared 4.5 sacks since 2014, so expectations for the 27-year-old defender’s next deal should be tempered.

Here’s the latest out of New Orleans:

  • On the subject of Saints who could become UFAs, Teddy Bridgewater is going to make his first start since a 2015 wild-card game. The Saints announced Bridgewater will start for Drew Brees. The Saints have already secured NFC home-field advantage. This game now becomes an interesting audition for a player who could be one of the most attractive free agent quarterbacks in March. Both Mike Zimmer and Bill Parcells, who serves as a mentor to Bridgewater, recommended the passer to Sean Payton, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com notes. The Saints sent a third-round pick to the Jets for Bridgewater, so it would make sense if they tried to keep him as the Brees heir apparent. But with several teams likely in the market for younger starter-level options, the Saints may not be able to afford Bridgewater, especially if he plays well against the Panthers.
  • Against the Steelers, Terron Armstead aggravated the pectoral injury that caused him to miss five games. Unsurprisingly, the Saints’ left tackle starter is out for Sunday’s meaningless regular-season finale. It’s not clear how severe this setback was, but Armstead did not guarantee he would be back in time for New Orleans’ playoff opener in just more than two weeks. The Pro Bowl blocker hopes to return by then, Christopher Dabe of NOLA.com notes. Jermon Bushrod started for Armstead during his initial hiatus.
  • These playoffs will be it for Ben Watson. The tight end playing another season could have made him the first pure tight end to play at age 39, unless Antonio Gates returns in 2019, but Watson will retire after the season — his 15th.

Failed Trades: Beasley, Fowler, Jets, Jags

After the trade deadline passes each year, there are inevitably reports about the trades that were discussed but never consummated. For instance, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that teams were trying to trade for Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley (video link). Beasley has just one sack this year, and he has regressed considerably since his First Team All-Pro performance in 2016, but Atlanta believes it can make the playoffs this season, and it was not prepared to move a foundational piece like Beasley, who is under contract through 2019 via the fifth-year option.

Now for more reports concerning trades that never happened, which nonetheless shed some light on the teams that declined to make the deals, the clubs that tried to make the deals, and the players themselves:

  • The Jets, desperate for pass rushing help, inquired on former Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler over the summer, and they tried again at last week’s trade deadline, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com details. The Rams ultimately acquired Fowler in exchange for a 2019 third-rounder and 2020 fifth-rounder, and while the Jets submitted a similar offer about a half hour before the 4pm deadline on October 30, they also wanted a fourth-rounder to come back to them. As such, Jacksonville pulled the trigger on the Rams’ offer.
  • Interestingly, before dealing him to the Saints in August, the Jets offered quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the Jaguars in a one-for-one swap for Fowler, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Jacksonville rebuffed that proposal, even though it knew that Fowler was probably on the way out, and given their QB struggles, that decision may have made a major difference in the Jags’ season.
  • Fowler may not have been the Rams‘ first choice for pass rushing help. We already knew that Los Angeles had made a significant offer for Khalil Mack before he was dealt to the Bears, but Schefter writes that the Rams also called the Texans to discuss Jadeveon Clowney in the first weeks of the season, and as late as last week, they made a push to acquire the BillsJerry Hughes.
  • Several teams, including the Eagles, called the Jets in an effort to acquire deep threat Robby Anderson, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (Twitter link). However, Gang Green opted to hold on to Anderson because the development of Sam Darnold remains the team’s top priority, and it did not want to remove one of Darnold’s biggest weapons.

Extra Points: Steelers, Jaguars, Saints, Bills

Running back Le’Veon Bell is expected to report to the Steelers during their Week 7 bye, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is hoping incumbent back James Conner will retain a role within the club’s offense even after Bell returns. “I will push for James to get as much run as we can because we’ve seen some great things from him in all phases of football,” Roethlisberger told Sean Gentille of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s picking up blitzes, he’s catching the ball, he’s running hard and making plays and playing with a passion, so we need to keep using that.” Conner, a third-round pick in 2017, is currently fifth in the NFL in rushing attempts and seventh in rushing yards, and he’s scored five times on the ground.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • T.J. Yeldon has been the primary ball-carrier for the Jaguars while Leonard Fournette deals with a hamstring injury, and that doesn’t figure to change even after Jacksonville signed veteran running back Jamaal Charles earlier this week, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). The Jaguars also added running back David Williams off the Broncos’ practice squad, and while they could look to slightly lighten Yeldon’s load, he’ll still remain the main option in Jacksonville’s backfield. With Corey Grant injured last Sunday, Yeldon handled 92% of the Jaguars’ offensive snaps, managing 122 total yards and one touchdown in the process.
  • The Saints added two voidable years to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater‘s contract after acquiring him from the Jets earlier this year, and Nick Underhill of the Advocate (Twitter link) has provided a few more details on the restructure. Bridgewater’s deal will automatically void 10 days prior to the start of the 2019 league year next March, so his 2019 and 2020 base salaries — each of which is valued at $22MM — will never factor into New Orleans’ books. However, once Bridgewater’s contract voids, his future signing bonus proration will immediately accelerate onto the Saints’ salary cap, meaning the club will take on an extra $2.71MM next spring.
  • Derek Anderson‘s one-year deal with the Bills is worth a prorated portion of the veteran’s minimum of $1.015MM, tweets Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Anderson received a minimum salary benefit deal, meaning he’ll only count against Buffalo’s salary cap at the rate of a second-year player plus his signing bonus, which accounts for a total cap charge of $503,326. The 35-year-old Anderson spent the past seven seasons as a backup to Cam Newton in Carolina, and attempted just 168 passes during that time. He’ll mentor rookie quarterback Josh Allen in Buffalo.