Despite going undefeated during his five starts for the New Orleans Saints, Teddy Bridgewater is back on the bench and back to his original role as the team’s second-string quarterback behind Drew Brees. But with the 26-year-old signal-caller set to enter free agency after the 2019 campaign, a new report suggests that he will have no shortage of options to choose from during next year’s offseason.
In the most recent edition of his column for Bleacher Report, Mike Freeman wrote that Bridgewater, who signed a one-year, $7.2 million contract with the Saints earlier this year, is expected by some New Orleans team officials to earn up to $20 million to $30 million annually as a free agent, provided he signs with the “right team” next year. Freeman added that there are many reasons why the former Louisville Cardinals star could more than double his salary when he signs his next contract, including his youth, athleticism, and on-field intelligence. His standout performance filling in for the then-injured Brees was listed as another factor that makes him the “prototypical” candidate to step up as a franchise quarterback.
Talking about the teams that could sign Bridgewater during the 2020 offseason, Freeman predicted that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots are among his most likely destinations, with both organizations having a 20 percent chance of landing the former first-round draft pick.
“Bridgewater would instantly transform Tampa Bay’s offense,” Freeman wrote. “The Bucs already have a top-five receiver in Mike Evans, and coach Bruce Arians knows how to take full advantage of skilled quarterbacks. Arians can’t do that now because Jameis Winston isn’t, well, skilled. Bridgewater would make the Buccaneers a team with double-digit wins.”
Drew Brees returns to the Saints today. Teddy Bridgewater held it DOWN in his absence.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 27, 2019
◽️ 5-0 as starter
◽️ 9 TD | 2 INT
◽️ 69.7 completion %
◽️ 103.7 QB rating
League’s highest-paid backup for a reason. pic.twitter.com/sbM21Y7t7f
As for the Patriots, it was pointed out that the team’s chances of signing Bridgewater next year would largely depend on whether Tom Brady decides to retire or to play another season. Freeman described the young quarterback as the “perfect” player for New England and one of the best available options if Brady chooses to call it quits. The Bleacher Report columnist advised readers to “keep a watch” on how things develop, as the 42-year-old, six-time Super Bowl winner has reportedly been dropping hints that he might be leaving the Patriots after this season.
While Freeman mentioned several other possible destinations, he saved the Saints for last, predicting that Bridgewater could also sign another one-year contract and see whether Brees, who turned 40-years-old this year, is ready to retire. He did, however, explain that waiting until Brees retires could be worth it for Bridgewater, given his familiarity with head coach Sean Payton’s system and his popularity with New Orleans fans. As such, the Saints still emerged as the most likely option (43.5 percent) for Bridgewater in free agency, as Freeman posited that staying in New Orleans could be “more satisfying” and more profitable in the long run.