The opportunity was too advantageous to bypass.
The New Orleans Saints’ trade for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, in exchange for a 2019 draft pick, a day before Thursday’s preseason finale against the Los Angeles Rams in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, was a blockbuster addition for a team with Super Bowl aspirations, and a desire to solidify the No. 2 quarterback position.
In Bridgewater, a 25-year-old, former first-round pick (No. 32 overall by Minnesota in 2014), New Orleans acquired a player who started 28 straight regular-season games and a playoff game for the Vikings.
“I think it was an opportunity to get a good, young player who’s had success in the league,” Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis said Thursday evening. “It’s as simple as that.
“We’ve got a great quarterback (starter Drew Brees) right now, but if we can add to the room and add to our depth, then obviously, that’s a good thing at any position, not just at quarterback.”
Bridgewater led the Vikings to an 11-5 record in 2015 and was selected to the Pro Bowl. In his first two seasons, he completed 551 of 849 passes for 6,150 yards and 28 touchdowns, with 22 interceptions.
He missed the ’16 season after dislocating his left knee and tearing multiple ligaments in training camp. He returned in the ’17 season and threw incomplete in two pass attempts.
This preseason, Bridgewater has played well, completing 28 of 38 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns, with an interception.
“When he came out he was a highly-graded player, a first-round pick,” Loomis said. “He had some really early success with Minnesota, he did have the injury, but he’s battled that adversity and came back.
“He had a real good preseason with the Jets. One thing that we know about him is his character and the intangibles that he has. So we’re really glad to have him.”
The addition of Bridgewater equals a subtraction in the quarterback room. Tom Savage and Taysom Hill had been battling throughout training camp and preseason for the No. 2 spot, but Hill’s roster spot appears almost assured because of his standout play on special teams.
“That’s the nature of the business, unfortunately,” Loomis said. “The roster is an ever-changing thing and the opportunity to improve our team, at any position, we look at that every day.”
The Saints, in fact, often have made late roster additions in preseason, or after.
Last year, New Orleans added Hill, receiver Austin Carr and kicker Wil Lutz after preseason games were completed.
“Sean tells our players this all the time, that they’re not only being evaluated by us and auditioning for us during preseason and training camp, but they’re doing that for other teams as well,” Loomis said. “There’s a lot of scouts, with every team, looking at every player in the league and how they do and how they perform in preseason.
“Sometimes, a team has depth and another team doesn’t, and they have an opportunity to get someone that might not make one team but ends up being on another team and having an impact on that team. We’ve had a long history of that. A lot of teams have. So we’ll continue to look at the other rosters and scour the waiver wire and we’ll see what happens this weekend.”