Last Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars made a move many fans felt was long overdue, benching struggling quarterback Blake Bortles midway through their Week 7 loss against the Houston Texans, and replacing him with former Cleveland Browns backup signal-caller Cody Kessler. But with Kessler likely being a stopgap solution at best, multiple sources have highlighted the need for the Jaguars to find a new quarterback.
It’s not clear whether Jacksonville will make some moves to rectify the quarterback issue before the October 30 trade deadline, but the NFL Network had one recent trade idea that might work in the team’s favor – a trade that would send defensive end Calais Campbell to the New Orleans Saints, with the Jaguars getting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and a second-round pick in return. As noted by USA Today’s Saints Wire blog, the trade was suggested this week on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football show by co-host Nate Burleson, in an episode that focused on potential scenarios that could take place before the trade deadline.
An 11-year NFL veteran, the 32-year-old Campbell is coming off a 2017 season where he registered 14.5 sacks, making the Pro Bowl in his first season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bridgewater, who turns 26 next month, was picked in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2014 and started for the team in his first two NFL seasons, but has barely seen the field since tearing his left ACL just weeks before the start of the 2016 season. He signed with the New York Jets in March but was traded to the New Orleans Saints in August, where he currently serves as a backup to Drew Brees.
Burleson’s suggestion of a Calais Campbell-for-Teddy Bridgewater trade was not the first time this week that such an idea was thrown around as a potential solution to the Jaguars’ quarterback problems. While Bleacher Report opined that free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2016-17 season, could be the best option, the publication mentioned Bridgewater as a pre-trade deadline possibility, with fellow backups Tyrod Taylor (Cleveland) and Jacoby Brissett (Indianapolis) also listed as quarterbacks the Jaguars could trade for.
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Although the veteran Campbell could make an immediate impact on defense if traded to New Orleans, Saints Wire’s John Sigler warned that the theoretical trade might only hurt the team in the long run. He posited that Campbell’s arrival has the potential of hindering the development of young defensive linemen Alex Okafor and Marcus Davenport, while Bridgewater’s departure could mean the loss of the 39-year-old Brees’ heir apparent at quarterback.
Should the aforementioned NFL Network trade idea remain an idea, with neither the Jaguars nor the Saints making any moves ahead of the trade deadline, there’s still a chance Jacksonville could wait until the 2019 offseason and sign Bridgewater as a free agent, assuming neither Blake Bortles nor Cody Kessler proves to be the answer at quarterback. According to ESPN, Bridgewater will be among the top options in a “pretty light” list of 2019 free agent quarterbacks, which also includes Taylor, Brock Osweiler (Miami), and Ryan Fitzpatrick (Tampa Bay).