Teddy Bridgewater could be the heir to Drew Brees in New Orleans, while Sam Darnold now has a clear path to be the New York Jets starter.
Brees will turn 40 in January, and although he’s still one of the elite signal-callers in the league, New Orleans may feel his end is coming sooner than his current ability suggests.
The veteran signed a two-year deal with the Saints in March, which means Bridgewater would have to wait for his chance to be a starter again.
Bridgewater played 29 games for the Minnesota Vikings in 2014 and 2015, but suffered a gruesome knee injury in 2016 that kept him out for the entire season. After making one appearance since the injury last season, he signed with the Jets in March.
New York went on to draft Sam Darnold with the third overall pick, leaving Bridgewater in a quarterback battle with the rookie and veteran Josh McCown.
Through three preseason games, Bridgewater performed the best of the trio as he completed 28-of-38 passes for 316 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for a passer rating of 104.7.
A former first-round pick, Bridgewater has unquestioned talent and pedigree, but his injuries have stunted his development early in his career. If healthy and given the opportunity, he could be the franchise quarterback many viewed him as coming out of the draft in 2014.
Bridgewater will immediately assume the back-up role with the Saints, who have Tom Savage, Taysom Hill and J.T. Barrett also on the depth chart.
The Jets signed Bridgewater to a one-year, $6 million deal in the offseason, so New Orleans would have to re-sign him after this season – likely without seeing him play significant snaps.
In trading a third-round pick, however, the Saints are all but making it clear their intention to keep hold of Bridgewater past this season.
For New York, this clears the path for Darnold to be the team’s starter from Week 1.
McCown, who was the starter last year, hasn’t played in the past two preseason games and offers the Jets little in the way of upside.
In three preseason appearances, Darnold has completed 64.4 per cent of his passes with two touchdowns and an interception for a passer rating of 83.9.
He’s at times looked like a quarterback with immense talent, and at others looked like a rookie getting his feet wet.
Now, he’ll be in the spotlight from day one and have his chance to sink or swim.