The New York Jets have traded backup QB Teddy Bridgewater to the New Orleans Saints today, in a move that everyone saw coming but people differed vigorously at the possible return. Bridgewater showed that he was healthy after a gruesome injury, and he displayed renewed mobility and a stronger arm than I remember seeing from him. He caps off a solid preseason (28/38, 73.7%, 316 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INTs) and now goes to a team where he has a legitimate shot at being the long-term starter. The Jets traded Bridgewater to the Saints with a 6th round pick, in exchange for a third round pick.
Bridgewater, during any other offseason, would’ve been one of the best signings this team has made. A young QB who wanted to be here and was motivated to prove his detractors right, and who came back healthier than anyone expected? The story writes itself. However, when the Jets repeated the Philadelphia Eagles blueprint and signed two veteran QBs and THEN traded up for one of the top three QBs you know this move was coming. Sam Darnold, the franchise’s franchise QB, had to earn the job from a very game Bridgewater, and earn it he did. The numbers are what they are, but wat is often lost when you only look at stats is that Bridgewater pushed Darnold to be decisive and accurate with the football, something that he himself admittedly struggled with at USC as he was always looking for the big play and would not take what the defense gave him.The compensation, a third round pick, is incredible value when you consider that no one wanted to even sign Bridgewater this past offseason. The Jets essentially turned a $1M investment into a top 100 pick in a draft where they will not have their second rounder due to the aforementioned trade up. Say what you will about Mike Maccagnan, but where he has really shined as a GM is in shrewd trades that most GMs don’t even attempt. If he could improve on his drafting, this team will really start to take off.
The question now becomes: is Maccagnan (and Brian Heimdenger) done? The Jets still have a hole at edge rusher and there are two names constantly mentioned in connection with the Jets: Dante Fowler Jr and Khalil Mack, who the Jets now have extra ammo to go and get. Worst case, they have positioned themselves to move around the draft board next year if they do not move the pick this year. Maccagnan has had a banner offseason, and this is another win for him and his front office.