Teddy Bridgewater did the same thing as the rest of his New Orleans Saints teammates the day after the season ended. He attended a team meeting then went to clean out his locker, exchanging hugs and phone numbers with those around him.
It may or may not have been his last act as a member of the Saints.
Bridgewater, whom the Saints acquired in August from the New York Jets in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2019 draft, will go into this offseason as an unrestricted free agent at the game’s most important position.
The wounds were still too fresh from Sunday’s overtime loss to the Rams in the NFC championship game for Bridgewater to publicly comment on his future with the organization.
“Who knows how it will all play out?” Bridgewater said. “I’m just taking it one day at a time and trying to swallow what happened yesterday. … That’s something that stings for a while. Whatever happens in the future, it’ll just happen.”
There will almost certainly be a market for Bridgewater’s services this offseason.
He is a 26-year-old former first-round pick who has had success as a starting quarterback. He will enter unrestricted free agency with the likes of Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Robert Griffin III and Brett Hundley, among others.
Six free agent quarterbacks signed free agent contracts worth more than $10 million annually last season. A.J. McCarron was the only one of that group who was not at least 30 years old by season’s end.
There was some concern about his health when he went into free agency last year after a knee injury cost him nearly two full seasons in Minnesota, but he appears to have eased some of those concerns after signing a one-year prove-it deal with the Jets last offseason.
Bridgewater only saw substantial playing time in one game, completing 14 of 22 passes with a touchdown and an interception in Week 17, but he turned in a strong preseason with the Jets and got through the season without any health complications.
“I definitely feel like I’ve overcome some major hurdles to get back to where I want to be in my career,” Bridgewater said. “I have some time this offseason to reflect on things and think about life going forward.”
If he were to return to the Saints, he would be signing on to be Drew Brees’ backup for at least one more season. Brees said after the loss to Los Angeles that he is planning to return for his 14th season with the franchise.
Soon, Bridgewater will return to his South Florida home and begin training for the 2019 season. If his time with the Saints was limited to a one-year stint, he gained some valuable lessons.
This season was like quarterback school for Bridgewater, who made sure to study Brees while he was waiting for his turn. He was struck by the way Brees prepared, by how the regiment of his routine led to success on Sundays.
“Never get bored with consistency, be stingy with your routine and always trust preparation,” Bridgewater said.
That, he said, is his major goal this offseason.
“Trying to become a better player and continue to find ways to make an impact in this league,” Bridgwater said. “That’s my focus right now.”
Whether that ends up happening in New Orleans or elsewhere is to be determined.