There may be no tale more gut-wrenching in Minnesota sports history than Teddy Bridgewater's time with the Minnesota Vikings, but after a successful stint with the New Orleans Saints, his pending free agency is about to produce a happy ending – at least in his bank account.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports that Bridgewater will have a strong market and doubled down during an appearance on SportsCenter Monday morning, (starts around the 6:30 mark) adding that several teams in transition will be looking for a quarterback. While many feel he could be a starter, Fowler added that he probably won't come as a bargain.
"You can't pay a guy $10 million and expect him to be your starter," Fowler explained. "You have to pay him $20-something million and you saw it [last year] with Nick Foles where [the Jacksonville Jaguars] paid him $22 million a year on a four-year deal."
Bridgewater's journey to this point has been an eventful one as he was the 32nd overall pick by the Vikings in the 2014 draft. After throwing for 28 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in three seasons in Minnesota, Bridgewater suffered a devastating knee injury in a 2016 practice that not only put his career in jeopardy but nearly had his leg amputated.
After spending nearly two seasons rehabbing the injury, the Vikings and Bridgewater went separate ways as he signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets, but was traded to the Saints after an impressive performance in the 2018 preseason.
Bridgewater had to wait for his opportunity, but after Drew Brees went down with a thumb injury early in 2019, Bridgewater stepped in to go 5-0 as the Saints' starter, which impressed teams enough to make a run at him in free agency.
The sudden market that has formed for Bridgewater's services will be a deep one as familiar names such as Phillip Rivers and Tom Brady could be filling out change of address cards this spring in addition to a trade market that could include Cam Newton and Andy Dalton. With so much competition, Bridgewater could drive up his price, especially after the top names are off the market.
For those keeping score at home, the Vikings are paying Kirk Cousins $31 million in the final year of his three-year, $84 million contract signed in the spring of 2018, but ESPN's Bill Barnwell had some fun speculating on the slim possibility of Bridgewater returning to the Vikings on a contract worth $100 million after failing to reach an agreement with Cousins on a restructured deal or extension, but that seems far-fetched at this point of the offseason.
The bottom line is that quarterbacks are becoming more of an arms race in the NFL after seeing the success of teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, who anointed Patrick Mahomes as their chosen one before promptly leading them to a Super Bowl victory. If a team decides that Bridgewater is their guy, it may not be shocking to see him take home a lot of money when free agency kicks off next month.