The quarterback market looks like it's going to be a little more crowded. We think.
For teams in need of a passer Kirk Cousins will be available via free agency. Same goes for AJ McCarron, Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, Josh McCown and Tom Savage. Even Drew Brees could be had, though it's expected he'll re-sign with the Saints. Then there are the five or six quarterback who could be taken in the first round of the draft, and the five or six more who could be taken before the fourth round is up.
- MORE PATRIOTS - CURRAN: Gronk has been unhappy since training camp
Then there's Teddy Bridgewater. His case is a little complicated.
NFL Media has reported that Bridgewater is expected to be a free agent when the new league year begins next month. That would mean that Bridgewater, who spent six games on the physically unable to perform list last season, would not have his contract toll from 2017 to 2018.
The NFL has told Pro Football Talk that no decision has been made in regards to Bridgewater's contract status so we're still waiting on that. However, because the Patriots could be on the lookout for The Next Guy, Bridgewater's potential availability is worth mulling over.
We're just not going to mull too hard.
Bridgewater suffered a devastating knee injury right before the end of the 2016 preseason, dislocating his left knee as well as tearing his ACL and other ligaments during a non-contact practice drill.
- MORE PATRIOTS - At QB, is time for Patriots to find The Next Guy?
Fourteen months later, in November, he was back at practice and backing up Keenum. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said last month that the team had tracked 24 similar knee injuries in other athletes and determined that half never returned to action. The quickest recovery before Bridgewater's, according to Zimmer, was 24 months.
"I think he's doing good now," Zimmer said, per ESPN. "He's at the point where he can play. You just have to work through figuring out where he's at in that because obviously, we didn't get to see him through games."
And that's what will make it hard for the Patriots to invest in Bridgewater going forward. There's so much uncertainty that using a roster spot to give Bridgewater time to find his footing behind Tom Brady doesn't seem all that logical.
Bridgewater is still young; he'll turn 26 next season. In 2015, the last time he was a starter, he was named a Pro Bowler, throwing for 3,231 yards on 65.3 percent passing, and running for an average of 4.4 yards per carry on 44 attempts. He certainly proved he was a more than capable starter in his sophomore season, and his accuracy (10th in completion percentage) put his name among the league's best.
Bridgewater won't be looking to break the bank on his next deal, and perhaps a workout and a battery of tests on his knee will make the Patriots feel like he's worth a low-risk shot. The idea may seem like an even better one if he's still available after the initial wave of free-agency and the Patriots aren't able to get their hands on a quarterback they like in this year's draft class.
The problem is the last time anyone saw Bridgewater take a meaningful snap was over two years ago. And that's hard to get around.
With a plethora of intriguing quarterbacks in this year's draft, and with Brian Hoyer already under contract as a trusted backup, the Patriots can probably afford to let another club take their shot on Bridgewater's comeback.