The warm and fuzzy tales of the Jets’ rebuild won’t mean much unless the powers that be find a franchise quarterback soon. The answer to general manager Mike Maccagnan’s prayers might be the guy with the weirdest resume: A young winner with NFL playoff experience, who hasn’t taken a single snap in nearly 16 months.
Could Teddy Bridgewater be the elixir for this star-crossed franchise?
For all the chatter about breaking the bank for impending free agent Kirk Cousins or Sucking for Sam/(INSERT CORNY SLOGAN FOR HYPED COLLEGE QUARTERBACK HERE), perhaps signing Bridgewater would be a wise middle ground for an organization re-making its roster.
They’ve tried a couple old band-aids. How about a young band-aid that might actually stick?
Mike Maccagnan still needs to find the Jets’ long-term answer at quarterback.
Bridgewater, who turned 25 last month, has taken a backseat to Case Keenum as the Vikings close in on a playoff spot. His upside remains a mystery after a grievous knee injury (ACL tear and dislocation) suffered in practice two days before the 2016 preseason finale, but the payoff might be huge.
The Jets could conceivably sign Bridgewater, who hasn’t played since coming off the Physically Unable to Perform List last month, to a reasonable multi-year deal ($ 6-8 million/year) with an escape hatch after two years.
Bridgewater, who’s younger than current Jets starter Bryce Petty, has the pedigree and experience (17-12 as a starter, including one playoff game) to help a team with no clear-cut answer at the game’s most important position. His presence would also allow the organization to continue to develop Christian Hackenberg, who still has supporters in the building.
Teddy Bridgewater is young and has some upside, and he makes sense for the Jets.
Bridgewater was solid — not spectacular — in his first two seasons, but consider the circumstances: He played behind a woeful offensive line in a scheme that exposed him to unnecessary body blows. The Vikings leaned heavily on Adrian Peterson in 2015, but Bridgewater was still sacked on a ridiculous nine percent of his dropbacks (83 times in 30 games) in Norv Turner’s offense that called for plenty of play-action and deep drops.
John Morton’s West Coast scheme that puts a premium on getting the ball out quick and maximizing yards after the catch might be better suited for Bridgewater’s skill set … and long-term health. The Jets, of course, will need to make offensive line upgrades in the offseason if they don’t want Minnesota’s former first-rounder to get snapped in half.
These Jets find themselves in a signal-caller predicament thanks, in part, to a cruel joke by the football Gods.
Christian Hackenberg still has his support with the organization, but he is a work in progress.
Who would have predicted that a couple of journeymen (Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown) would each have career years in the first three years of this Jets regime? Perhaps Maccagnan and Todd Bowles would have already drafted a first-round quarterback (they’ve tried to trade up without success) by now if they were better positioned.
Alas, Maccagnan has tried to strike oil in the second and fourth rounds without success. Petty will get a final audition starting Sunday against the Saints, but team decision makers believe backup is his ceiling. Hackenberg is a work in progress that has some support in the building.
I’m still in the no-risk-it-no-biscuit camp that believes making an aggressive play for Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen or Josh Allen could transform the franchise for the next decade, but the Jets might not be willing to bypass a starter in free agency.
Bridgewater, who has 32 career touchdowns (28 passing) and 12 interceptions with a 64.9 completion rate and 84.0 passer rating, would be a relatively low-risk, high-reward option for a team that desperately needs to solve their most maddening problem.
It might just work. I’ve heard worse ideas.