In his introductory press conference call to New York reporters Wednesday, Teddy Bridgewater didn’t have much to say to about the knee injury that derailed his football career in Minnesota. Rich Cimini of ESPN reported the former Vikings quarterback would not address whether his knee was close to 100 percent.
“That’s not something I’m comfortable talking about right now,” Bridgewater said. “I’m pretty sure that will be a discussion I have with the training staff and we’ll come up with a plan moving forward.”
Despite dancing around the question, Bridgewater reportedly said he can still perform at a high level and he embraces the crowded quarterback situation the New York Jets are facing. The team currently has five quarterbacks on the roster.
NY Jets quarterbacks
- Josh McCown
- Teddy Bridgewater
- Christian Hackenberg
- Bryce Petty
- Joel Stave
Bridgewater, who suffered a catastrophic, non-contact knee injury just 12 days before the 2016 season, returned to the field this season in a Week 15 thumping of the Cincinnati Bengals. He went 0-for-2 with an interception but appeared to be healthy when playing.
“I wouldn’t have dressed the guy if I didn’t think he was ready during the season,” said Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer at his NFL Combine presser. “If he would have had to go in [at any point] I was comfortable playing him.”
Zimmer later added, “I’m hopeful for Teddy, number one, that he has an outstanding career. He’s earned it. He’s deserved it. Hopefully it’s with me but if not, then I’ll wish him the best of luck. I’ll give him a hug and hope for the best for him.”
The Vikings had more knowledge than any other team on Bridgewater and his surgically repaired knee. Yet, the team let the 25 year-old become an unrestricted free agent earlier this month. The uncertainty surrounding his health led to lukewarm interest in the young quarterback on the open market.
Ultimately, Bridgewater signed a one-year, prove-it deal with the Jets. He’ll earn $6 million in 2018 and can earn up to $15 million in incentives, but he’s only guaranteed $500,000. That’s also the amount of dead money the Jets would accrue if they decide to cut the quarterback.
Bridgewater will have to prove that he’s healthy as soon as possible. While he’s currently considered the backup behind veteran Josh McCown, the Jets recently traded with the Indianapolis Colts to acquire the #3 pick in next month’s draft. All indications are they’ll target a quarterback.
“I’m very confident in myself,” Bridgewater said. “I’m confident in the athletic training staff and the coaching staff that they can get me back to the player that I once was. But at the same time, we’re only in March and the only way to get better is to put the work in now. I’m excited about this opportunity I have. … I can’t wait. I’m excited.”