Speculation

The Pros and Cons of Re-Signing Case Keenum AND Teddy Bridgewater

Will the Vikings have another QB competition next season?

Now that the Minnesota Vikings have hired an offensive coordinator, the team has begun to focus on its next offseason priority — choosing a quarterback.

In ESPN’s Bold offseason predictions for all 32 teams, Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin made a prognosis regarding the team’s quarterback situation. Cronin wrote:

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings will re-sign Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater in 2018

The move will force a quarterback competition in camp to see who will be the Week 1 starter. Keenum will be a hot commodity in free agency, but I doubt teams are going to go all-in on a quarterback who has had only one stellar season as a starter. Minnesota has the cap space to pay Keenum upward of $15 million to $20 million for a short-term deal and give Bridgewater a contract for $8 million to $10 million. That’s a substantial price tag for a backup, but who knows whether the dynamic will stay that way come training camp. Keenum got the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game this year, but Minnesota has invested too much in Bridgewater’s recovery to part ways with him now. Given how they planned out their cap space for 2018, bringing back both seems like the easiest option. — Courtney Cronin

Re-signing Keenum and Bridgewater may be the “easiest” solution, but there are benefits and drawbacks to the Vikings bringing back both players.

Pros

First and foremost, it provides the team with options.

Sign/tag-and-trade for picks

The Vikings currently own five picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. Although they’re projected to receive two compensatory picks, general manager Rick Spielman prefers having roughly 10 picks at his disposal any given year. That may be enough incentive for the team to work out a trade to acquire more picks. After re-signing both quarterbacks, the Vikings could trade one (or both) of them for draft capital. A franchise/transition tag-and-trade deal for Keenum could also be considered.

Preseason trade

The Vikings could opt to wait until the latter weeks of the preseason to work out a trade. In theory, the team would get the “best” of the two quarterbacks after a competition throughout training camp and the preseason. After a starter is declared, the team would then trade the other quarterback. Minnesota would recoup some valuable assets in return and open up a considerable amount of cap space for next offseason. In this scenario, the 2018 backup would likely be Kyle Sloter and/or a veteran QB the team picks up in free agency.

Depth

Of course, the Vikings could decide to keep both players. By doing so, the team provides insurance in case the starter gets injured or their game goes to hell. Having both quarterbacks on the roster would provide Minnesota with one of the top QB tandems in the NFL. Recent history has shown how valuable a solid backup quarterback can be.

Cap room

Rather than unloading cash on one free agent QB, the Vikings could bring back two. The team would gain more cap flexibility in 2019, provided one of the quarterbacks leaves after the season. That would ensure the front office is able to extend core players next offseason without the risk of losing any of them.


Cons

While bringing back Keenum and Bridgewater gives the Vikings plenty of options, there are certainly disadvantages to re-signing both quarterbacks.

Two-headed monster

Both signal callers would like to start somewhere in 2018. That clearly can’t happen if they’re each under contract with the Vikings. The team would be wise to steer clear of any distractions a disgruntled player may cause.

Short-term solution?

The Vikings covet a long-term solution at the most important position on the team. Moving forward with two quarterbacks means the franchise could face this same dilemma next year, and the year after that, and so on. Stability under center has translated to sustained success in the NFL.

Cap room

Just like splurging on a big-name free agent, spending $23 to $30 million or more on two quarterbacks will limit the Vikings’ opportunities to sign free agents at other positions. Depending on the length of the contracts, it could hinder the team’s chances to extend key players next year as well.


Compensatory picks

Now, let’s say the Vikings decide to go another route and acquire a quarterback in free agency or via trade. Losing both Keenum and Bridgewater to free agency this offseason could return compensatory picks, but it depends on a few factors:

  • How many notable free agents Minnesota signs this offseason
  • The value of the contracts Keenum and Bridgewater sign with their new teams
  • The amount of games played for each QB in the upcoming season
  • 2018 player performance

If the Vikings are awarded compensatory picks they would be allocated for the 2019 NFL Draft.


The Vikings certainly have a big decision on their hands. VT will explore other QB options the team could consider as free agency approaches.

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Sean Borman

Sean Borman is a writer with Minnesota roots that's still somehow an optimist. He was an intern with the Vikings during college and previously wrote for Rant Sports. You can find Sean on the golf course and on Twitter @SeanBoarMan.

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11 Comments

  1. It never occurred to me that Keenum could be a tradable asset via tag. I’m not sure I’m buying that theory. I think tagging Keenum would be foolish. He’ll sign that tag in a heartbeat, and ain’t nobody gonna trade us SQUAT for Keenum at that price tag. The ONLY way I see Keenum or Teddy being tradable is if Teddy Tolls, and Keenum signs a reasonable deal, somewhere in the $12-$15 mil per year. Honestly, I only like the idea of keeping Bridgewater if his contract tolls. We need to see if he can return from that knee before we pay him anything significant. Keep him for a year on the cheap, or trade him. Somebody will give up something for Teddy on a one year $2 million dollar contract. That said, my preference is to look outside any of our 3 internal options. I think we should try to draft one of the top 5 QB’s coming out in this years draft, if possible. Preferably Baker Mayfield, or Lamar Jackson, if possible. Even trade up to get one of them if they drop a little. Also, we could explore signing a guy like A.J. McCarron or another Vet. It would be cheaper, and probably better results. But I’ll back whatever our brain trust decides. SKOL

    1. Another option for Keenum would be the transition tag, which was roughly $19 million in 2017. It would be cheaper than the franchise tag plus give the Vikings the option to match any offer Keenum receives from another team.

      The fact the team has Sloter make me think drafting a QB is lesser of a priority. Considering the interest he received after being waived by Denver, the Vikings could opt to keep and develop him, or trade him for the right offer if DeFilippo is not a fan of his skill set.

  2. no need to overthink it…..bring in some capable offensive linemen and this is a super bowl team with keenum…….BW if he will sign for backup money, but he will be a distraction, and keep sloter

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head. Shoring up the offensive line could make any QB successful in Minnesota considering the weapons the Vikings have at the skill positions, including having Dalvin Cook back in action.

  3. Courtney Cronin, the ESPN writer quoted in the article is the last person anyone should listen to. She has shown many, many, many times that she is incompetent when it comes to prognosticating.

    Keep Keenum as the starter. Strengthen the OL. Let Bridgewater go. He’s damaged goods big time. Make Sloter the primary backup QB and develop him. He’s young, talented, and smart. Case Keenum will lead the Vikings to a SB. Maybe more than once. Especially with Cook back healthy.

    1. This was her first year covering the Vikings and I think she did a great job.

      Like you said Keenum certainly appeared capable of leading the Vikings to a Super Bowl, especially if the offensive line is improved and Dalvin Cook comes back and stays healthy.

  4. I agree keep keenum and build up the team around him. Keeping teddy would be great to have a good back up but not at to high of a price drafting a backup wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    1. All depends on if the NFL decides to toll Teddy’s contract… so you like Keenum, Sloter, and a draft pick if Teddy isn’t tolled. Not a bad depth chart there… There’s so many possibilities.

    1. IMO fans are concerned about keeping the core players of the team intact, which is valid. But, with one of the best cap guys in the business (Rob Brzezinski) it’s entirely feasible to go after a pricey free agent (Kirk Cousins) AND be able to re-sign the notable players due for extensions after the 2019 season.

  5. Sign Cousins, shore up the interior oline in the draft. I think they might be able to get Cousins for cheaper than what he will get offered from Cleveland and the Jets. I would much rather have Cousins at ~30mil and Sloter than Case and Teddy for 28million.

    I think the sheer fact people would consider signing Teddy and Case tells you all you need to know about Case.

    The alternative is Case at 20 mill and Norwell from the panthers. Would really bolster the Oline, but that would be a huge amount of money tied up in the oline. I think they’re better finding a good guard in the draft for cheap.

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