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Teddy Bridgewater back in the NFC following trade to Saints

Atlanta Falcons v New York Jets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Teddy Bridgewater was in the AFC for all of a few months. That is about to be official, with Adam Schefter reporting that the New York Jets have traded the quarterback to the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday. The Saints are sending a third round pick to New York.

Bridgewater was the source for tons of trade speculation this training camp and preseason given his apparent health after missing virtually all of 2016 and 2017 with a destroyed knee. Bridgewater returned to the Minnesota Vikings late last season, going 0-for-2 with an interception. The Vikings opted to not re-sign Bridgewater or starter Case Keenum, instead giving a fully-guaranteed three-year deal to Kirk Cousins. Bridgewater signed a one-year deal with the Jets that is worth up to $15 million if all incentives are reached.

One would assume that by going to the Saints, Bridgewater won’t hit those incentives. In fact, it’s really odd that New Orleans felt that they were the team that had to do this.

Brees has missed three games since 2004. He’s 39, but led the NFL in completion percentage last season and is still one of the top five quarterbacks in the league, one could assume. He signed a two-year, $50 million deal in March. Are the Saints worried about something in regards to Brees with the season less than two weeks away, or is this just very cautious insurance for a guy nearing 40? If Bridgewater is a plan for “the future” then what do they plan to do when he becomes a free agent in 2019 and Brees is still under contract for next season? They won’t really have any leverage to re-sign Bridgewater and he would likely leave to look for an opportunity to start.

In other NFC QB news, the Green Bay Packers gave Aaron Rodgers a four-year extension that is said to be worth around $134 million with a $57.5 million signing bonus, and is potentially worth up to $180 million. Russell Wilson’s contract will likely be re-negotiated next year. The NFC is still far out-stacking the AFC in terms of quarterbacks, with Bridgewater pushing things a little further that way. The best QBs in the AFC are now Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger, all likely nearing retirement. The young players to watch include DeShaun Watson, Marcus Mariota, and Patrick Mahomes, while Andrew Luck, Derek Carr, and Case Keenum will look to prove themselves again in 2018. The rookies are Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold — now assured to start for the Jets following the Bridgewater trade — and Josh Allen. Ryan Tannehill, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, and Blake Bortles round out the bunch.

The NFC’s roster of QBs is much stronger and their weakest options include Eli Manning, Sam Bradford, and Mitchell Trubisky. I’d look for the NFC to remain the stronger conference for quite some time.