Could the Bucs go back to one of their quarterback options from two seasons ago?
Two seasons ago, the Bucs took a long look at bringing in Teddy Bridgewater as their quarterback as part of their “door number two” philosophy. Luckily, they were able to land Tom Brady and find themselves winning a Super Bowl as a result, but now Brady is gone and Bridgewater is out there once again for the Bucs if they want him.
Teddy Bridgewater’s Career Thus Far
Drafted at 32nd overall by the Minnesota Vikings back in 2014, Bridgewater looked to be on the cusp of taking the league by storm. That was, until, he suffered one of the most brutal knee injuries we’ve seen this century. Due to that, he missed almost two full seasons and by time he returned, the Vikings had moved on. Bridgewater moved on to a backup role in New Orleans, starting six games in two seasons and going 5-1 – including winning all five of his starts in 2019 when Drew Brees was out with an injury. When the Bucs opted for Brady, Bridgewater moved to another NFC South team and became the starter for the Carolina Panthers in 2020. Though Teddy B threw for 3700 yards and fifteen touchdowns he also threw eleven interceptions as the Panthers went 4-11. Now, Christian McCaffrey missed thirteen games which didn’t help matters, but the Panthers moved on to Sam Darnold and Bridgewater moved to the Rockies. With the Denver Broncos in 2021, Bridgewater played in fourteen games and the Broncos went .500 in those starts. Nothing crazy in the stats department as Bridgewater threw for just over 3000 yards but had an 18-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio which is a big improvement over 2020.
Why It Works
To be honest, it’s because there aren’t a whole lot of options out there. Outside of a blockbuster trade, the Bucs options are extremely limited with Bridgewater being one of the better options out there. He’s not going to single-handedly will the Bucs to a win but he’s also not going to torpedo the team either. Essentially, Bridgewater is officially the quintessential game manager and, although that tends to clash a little with the Bruce Arians/Byron Leftwich style and approach to the game, the interest two years ago was very real. Obviously they believed that Bridgewater could lead this offense and I can’t see that opinion changing too much over the course of two years where he had little-to-no help in Carolina before improving in Denver.
This isn’t the move you make when you’re in “win now” mode. Bruce Arians is likely coaching his last season and Bridgewater is a bridge quarterback to the future for the team. He’s not winning a Super Bowl in 2022 with Bridgewater at the helm, so does that make the move worth it? Hard to tell if that is a move the Bucs would want to build around for the next couple of seasons – assuming the next head coach is already on the Bucs’ staff. This would very much be a one year deal type of situation and if that’s all it is, why not just roll with Kyle Trask?
What’s The Cost?
Bridgewater is coming off a one year deal with Denver that paid him $4.4 million dollars, so the cost would likely be extremely low for a starting quarterback in the NFL. In fact, a move like signing Teddy B could open up the opportunity to put money into contracts for players like Chris Godwin, Carlton Davis, Alex Cappa, Ryan Jensen, and/or Leonard Fournette. Even if Bridgewater signs for double what he made last season, that’s still less than what the Bucs were about to pay Ali Marpet and less than a third what Brady would have received. So, if Arians can set Super Bowl aspirations aside for 2022, signing Bridgewater could provide the Bucs the opportunity to bring back a lot of their high profile players.
What We Don’t Know
For starters, we don’t know if the Bucs truly view Bridgewater in the same light that they did in the 2020 offseason. If they don’t, they are more likely to roll with Trask or Gabbert given that they’ve seen both already in their system and would likely view the three of them within the same class.
We also don’t know what Aaron Rodgers is about to do. Why is that relevant? Well, because if Rodgers stays, the Broncos may be interested in retaining Bridgewater’s services given his success with them last season. If Rodgers wants out of Green Bay, the Broncos are obviously one of the top team rumored as a landing spot for the reigning MVP.
Finally, does Bridgewater want to continue to play? Having dealt with numerous injuries and coming up on thirty years old, Bridgewater may feel ready to move on with his life while he is still healthy enough to enjoy it. While it seems unlikely and Bridgewater hasn’t displayed any intention of doing so, it’s not out of the question to have a player announce his retirement out of nowhere while still young…
Make The Decision
The majority of Bucs fans are hoping for a big time blockbuster that would see Tampa Bay get Russell Wilson, DeShaun Watson, or Derek Carr. Unfortunately, those chances are highly unlikely and the Bucs will have to turn to the draft or free agency to address the most important position on the field.
Let us know your thoughts, Bucs Nation.