Can Bridgewater bounce back from a devastating knee injury to be the quarterback the Jets need?
The Vikings drafted Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft with the expectation that he would be a long-term answer at quarterback. A gruesome knee injury changed that, and now Bridgewater will get a fresh start with the Jets when he signs with them as a free agent on Wednesday, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.
Bridgewater was one of the more intriguing quarterbacks who hit free agency this offseason. His ceiling is high and he showed promise before the injury that kept him sidelined for the better part of two full seasons. But he only played a handful of snaps last year, leaving plenty of questions about what type of player the Jets are actually getting.
The team also re-signed Josh McCown on a one-year deal, so if Bridgewater isn’t totally healthy, they have a safety net. Bridgewater, if he wants to start right away, will likely have to beat McCown in training camp.
What does Bridgewater bring to the Jets?
Bridgewater showed promise in his first two seasons in the NFL. But Bridgewater was good, not great.
In his rookie season, he finished with 2,919 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 12 picks in 12 starts. He followed that up with 3,231 yards, 14 touchdowns, and nine picks when he started every game for the Vikings in 2015. Part of the issue was the offensive line. Bridgewater was playing behind the 28th-ranked line in 2014 and the 25th-ranked line in 2015. Those units allowed a total of 91 sacks over those two seasons.
If Bridgewater is healthy and if the offensive line can keep him upright, he should be a solid addition.
Are there any concerns with Bridgewater?
He’s coming off of a knee injury that was so gruesome there were questions about whether it would actually end his career. Bridgewater was cleared to return to the field last season, but Case Keenum had established himself as the starter and took the Vikings all the way to the NFC Championship.
Bridgewater played in just one game for Minnesota and attempted two passes, one of which went incomplete and the other was intercepted. So it’s hard to say just how football-ready he actually is at this point.
Is this a good signing for the Jets?
In theory. If Bridgewater can return to his 2015 form, then yes. But there’s a lot of uncertainty there until we actually see what he can do in preseason.
Not one Jets receiver surpassed 1,000 yards last year, but Robby Anderson was close, with 941 yards and seven touchdowns. Jermaine Kearse was just behind him with 810 yards and five touchdowns. Devin Smith, the Jets’ second-round pick in 2015, missed all of last season with a torn ACL. But he should be back in 2018.
If Bridgewater is fully healthy and can play at the level he did before his knee injury, it should work out just fine for the Jets. Plus, the Jets can commit to Bridgewater short-term and still draft their quarterback of the future in 2018.
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