Ian Rappoport and Drew Brees
NFL analyst Ian Rappoport believes that If the Bucs show Winston the door, Bruce Arians could target Teddy Bridgewater if the Saints allow him to test the free agency waters. I took a look over at the Saints free agent list for 2020, and while poking around a little bit, I found that all three of their quarterbacks are free agents: Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, and Taysom Hill I figure that the Saints will almost certainly keep Drew Brees, who turns 41 next week. As for Brees retiring, he had already stated that he will take things year to year, but after a productive 2019 season, he’s most likely to be back.
The situation of Teddy Bridgewater in the Big Easy
Teddy Bridgewater will surely receive interest from teams that could be or will be moving on from their current starters. Teams like the Las Vegas Raiders or the San Diego Chargers, as well as our Buccaneers. These teams are candidates for a possible change. Would Bridgewater actually turn down a starting job with the pay raise that comes with it just to stay in The Big Easy as a backup? Bridgewater stands to make $8 to $9m in a backup role if he stays, but could command as much as $20-30 million in free agency. He made $7.5 million last season, which made him the highest-paid back up quarterback in the NFL.
Saints have very little cap space
The Saints won’t likely Franchise Tag Bridgewater unless they want to pay him around $24 million. Transitional Tagging him for the backup role would give the Saints a chance to match any offer made, though again, that won’t likely happen either. The Saints are somewhat cash strapped, so there is a good chance that Bridgewater could bolt for a starting role elsewhere. You only get so many years to play this game, and most choose to make it while they can and who can blame them?
Winston’s interceptions put him on the wrong side of negotiations
Hypothetically for Bridgewater to come here, Jameis Winston would have to be gone. He’s not coming here to play a backup role when he could have that in New Orleans. Arians has said that he likes Teddy Bridgewater’s game, and it’s not inconceivable that Arians and the Bucs may want to move on from Winston for a quarterback that they feel is more reliable and consistent. My feeling is that the Bucs could be willing to forfeit Jameis Winston’s upside for a safer strong-armed game-manager, that they could have with Bridgewater.
Bridgewater is a more cerebral player
Bridgewater is a smart quarterback who makes better decisions with the football. In six games, while filling in for Brees, he only threw two picks, and neither was returned for a touchdown. He also won five of those six games. With the Defense coming into its own, Arians believes that quarterbacks can find success here, whether it’s Jameis Winston or not.
Colts reportedly interested in Winston
It’s rumored that the Colts have an interest in Jameis Winston, and I’m certain there are more teams that share an interest in him. If he leaves (which it has been rumored for a while that he won’t), he may go on to be successful with another franchise. In my opinion, if the Buccaneers make the decision to let Winston walk, then they should not second themselves, because five years is long enough to devote to any player who has to continually work on huge the types of issues that result in games being lost every season. One Buc is really in a tough spot over their signal-caller. Do you deal in facts, and take his inability to stop giving away the football multiple times in a game, or do you continue to hold onto hope that he will finally correct the problem in season six?
I think that if the Bucs play the law of averages and commit to what’s really best for the team, they will go with the most obvious and sane decision. Albert Einstein is widely credited, despite no proof that he actually said it, for saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over expecting a different outcome. I’ll leave that one with you to stew in for a little bit. If they do part ways with #3, Bridgewater would certainly be a strong option. We already know Arians likes him.