With only 32 starting quarterback jobs, the decision seemed odd, but Bridgewater told WWL radio in New Orleans that he felt staying with the Saints was the best place for him to succeed “as a football player and as a man.”
Bridgewater intimated returning to New Orleans to backup Brees was a better situation for him than challenging for the starting job in Miami.
“You play the game to compete and you want to be a starter, but at the same time you don’t want to rush yourself to be in any situation that could possibly lead you back to where you are today,” Bridgewater said, via Luke Johnson of The Times-Picayune.
Where Bridgewater is today is a 26-year-old former first-round pick who has made 25 regular-season throws in the past three years.
After suffering a devastating knee injury that whipped out his entire 2016 season, and threatened to end his career, Bridgewater has made one start — in Week 17 last season in New Orleans with a cast of mostly backups that didn’t aid his cause. Re-signing with the Saints means he will likely spend a fourth year without being a regular starter.
Bridgewater’s decision to return to New Orleans could have had to do with the shaky situation in Miami. The quarterback might believe he’d enter a no-win situation with the Dolphins behind a shaky offensive line with questionable weapons. Sometimes jumping at the first job opportunity isn’t the best long-term move.
After being traded to the Saints following a very good preseason with the New York Jets last year, Bridgewater was part of a fun, entertaining team with a locker room that clearly loved being together. Returning to that situation meant more to Teddy B than competing for a starting gig.
“I was able to be a part of that last year for 18 weeks, and it was nothing but a positive thing,” Bridgewater said. “I told my agent every time that I’ve talked to him that I haven’t stopped smiling since I arrived. There’s so many positives in New Orleans, and I’m looking forward to many days ahead.”
Perhaps next offseason he’ll chase that starting gig. For now, he’s being paid handsomely to be insurance in New Orleans.