The New Orleans Saints’ quarterback quandary for 2022 feels vaguely like a choose-your-own-adventure game. One analyst has NOLA going for Teddy Bridgewater and a first-round QB.
What would that adventure be like?
Thankfully, last season’s merry-go-round of quarterbacks has come to a halt, but the deserted, run-down carnival that is this offseason’s free agency offers other entertaining options. Do the Saints want to shoot at ducks to win an inflatable Carson Wentz? Or might the Saints try their hand at tossing rings for a plushy Jimmy G?
PFF’s Anthony Treash recently released his prediction for the Saint’s offseason QB plans, and it involves two steps: first sign Teddy Bridgewater, then draft Matt Corral.
"Bridgewater could be seen as a bridge quarterback for one of the teams drafting a rookie passer early in the 2022 NFL Draft. All of this year’s quarterback prospects could benefit from time to learn and develop before taking the reins of their respective offenses."
Easy enough, in principle. We like the pun on “bridge,” too.
If the Saints aren’t able to re-sign Jameis Winston, Denver Broncos’ Teddy Bridgewater presents an unexciting but nonetheless serviceable choice under center.
The Bridgewater method has already been tried and tested by Sean Payton from 2018 to 2019, when Bridgewater finished with a 5-1 quarterback record. He threw for 1,502 yards and recorded ten touchdowns against three interceptions, averaging a respectable 67.1 percent pass completion rate.
The journeyman has since landed in Denver, where he struggled against AFC quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert in 2021 and strung along mostly bland and uninspiring performances.
New Orleans Saints may go for the veteran-rookie QB combo in 2022
The Broncos missed the playoffs and finished with a losing record (mind you, in arguably the toughest division in the league), but Bridgewater offers consistency and coachability compared to other free agent quarterback options.
Add Bridgewater with a first-round pick like Matt Corral, and the Saints might have something.
PFF’s Treash described Corral as the following:
"Corral was in a very friendly offense at Ole Miss, and he operated it with pinpoint timing and accuracy while making plays through the air and on the ground. As of now, Corral is widely viewed as a top-three quarterback and a first-round prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft class.”"
Bridgewater would serve as the stop-gap veteran to help ease Corral into a potential starting role, and in theory it would keep the Saints competitive throughout the 2022 season while preparing for the franchise’s future.
But this approach has its inescapable drawbacks — with a quarterback and a quarterback-in-waiting, a murky cloud of doubt would still hang over New Orleans Saints camp. At what point would Dennis Allen deem Corral ready to replace Bridgewater? Do the Saints just have never-ending commitment issues?
Questions must also be asked of Bridgewater’s quarterback play. Bridgewater performed well enough in Brees absence in 2019, but his potential may be capped at: “Only a decent backup.” Despite having a strong receiver room and potent rushing attack in Denver, Bridgewater couldn’t muster wins as a starter on a regular basis. His odds of doing so in New Orleans, where the offense arguably needs more work, would be much lower.
This veteran-rookie quarterback tandem may offer more cons than pros, and it would likely perpetuate 2021’s vicious cycle of instability. Bridgewater offers a familiar face, and Corral would add a new one, but the two of them together may only further confuse the Saints’ identity.