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Teddy Bridgewater will be a fascinating free agent

Teddy Bridgewater finds himself in an interesting position.

The Minnesota Vikings are making all kinds of news on the quarterback front, and none of it was particularly shocking. Still, it remains incredibly compelling with word coming down that neither Case Keenum or Teddy Bridgewater are expected to be retained before free agency.

Keenum isn’t a surprise in any capacity. Yes, the journeyman had a terrific year in 2017, helping Minnesota reach the NFC Championship Game. But history has to be counted for in this decision, and with that in mind, Keenum was never coming back. At 30, a team would need to bet that Keenum’s best year is going to be his baseline moving forward.

Despite playing above any reasonable expectation, Keenum only produced 3,547 passing yards and 22 touchdowns in 15 regular-season starts. Those numbers are fine, but they aren’t worthy of big money.

Teddy Bridgewater is the much more complex case. The former first-round pick looked promising in his first two seasons, before a devastating knee injury almost ended his career. Over the last two seasons, Bridgewater has only played a few meaningless snaps in one game. His last start was in the infamous NFC Wild Card Game against the Seattle Seahawks back in Jan. 2016.

When healthy, Bridgewater flashed potential, but was never overly-productive. The former Louisville star threw for 3,231 yards and 14 touchdowns against nine interceptions in his best season (2015). He now hopes to convince teams he’s worth a large payday.

While the stats are middling and the injury history is troubling, expect Bridgewater to get paid on a short-term deal. The NFL is always desperate for quarterbacks. While the market favors the buyers this March, he’ll find enough leverage to get a nice check for 2018. Kirk Cousins will be the first domino to fall — perhaps with the Vikings — and then the bidding war starts for men like Sam Bradford, Keenum and Bridgewater.


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The New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals are all in need of a new quarterback. One could argue that the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins are as well. The Jets, Broncos and Browns all pick in the first six selections of the upcoming draft, so rookie signal-callers could be their route. However, Bridgewater is only 25 years old and has real experience.

Bridgewater should be looking to get a one or two-year deal that is heavily incentivized. If he stays healthy and plays well, he resets his market for 2019 when the quarterback options appear to be much more limited. The thought here is that a team will want to have what essentially amounts to a second-year option, giving them control if Bridgewater plays well.

In totality, look for Bridgewater to get a deal around two years and $35 million with $15 million guaranteed, mostly in the first year. If he plays well, he’ll stick around for a second season and likely be talking extension. If he gets hurt or regresses from his previous form, Bridgewater will get cut and potentially be looking at a backup role elsewhere next spring.

There are a ton of moving parts in the quarterback market this March, and Bridgewater will be one of the most fascinating.

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