FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Teddy Bridgewater was terrific in the Jets' preseason game in Washington on Thursday night and through two games he's looked like the best quarterback on the roster. But such is the state of the Jets' quarterback riches that nobody's asking the 25-year-old about his chances to win the Jets' starting job.
Instead, all he seems to get are questions about a possible trade.
Not surprisingly, Bridgewater wants no part of the discussion. He answered repeated questions about it on Saturday after practice in almost exactly the same way.
"For me this is all about opportunity," Bridgewater said. "I'm blessed with the opportunity to continue to do what I love to do. That's what's most important to me right now, just waking up every day knowing that I have the opportunity to play football. I get to come to work and challenge these guys to be the best men that they can be and the best football players that they can be. What more could you ask for?"
Well, he could ask for a legitimate shot at the starting job. Maybe he has one, but realistically he knows that this is the summer of Sam Darnold. If the Jets deem that the first-round pick is ready, the job will be his, probably no matter what Bridgewater and McCown do.
That's why he's Teddy Tradebait, whether he likes it or not. If any team wants a quarterback, the former Pro Bowler has to be at the top of the list.
The problem with trading Bridgewater, though, is no one is going to pay a premium for a quarterback unless they're desperate for help. Sure, Bridgewater is probably better than a handful of current NFL starters, but for better or worse, each of the other 31 teams have committed to someone. They're not going to renege on that commitment before the regular season even starts.
And they can't even trade for Bridgewater with the idea of making the 25-year-old their quarterback of the future. Sure, he'd make some sense in a place like New Orleans as a future replacement for the 39-year-old Drew Brees. But Bridgewater is only signed through the end of this season. Every team is going to have a chance to sign him next March.
So realistically, Bridgewater is likely going to remain with the Jets throughout the season, or at least until some starting quarterbacks around the league get hurt. Of course there's always a chance some team changes their mind and bails on their current starter. So with all that in mind, here are a few possible destinations to watch:
Philadelphia: The Super Bowl champions got a bit of a scare in Week 2 when they lost Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to a shoulder injury. He's reportedly OK, but this is exactly the kind of situation that would work in the Jets' favor. They already don't know for sure that Carson Wentz will be back for Week 1. If Foles went down for an extended period too … well, sending a first-round pick to the Jets for Bridgewater would feel like a lot better option than starting Nate Sudfeld.
Houston: DeShaun Watson seems OK, but there's not always a straight path from a major injury to a remarkable return. Bridgewater could be good insurance, and a good mentor to help Watson with his experience on those days when the recovery doesn't seem to be going well.
Denver: The Broncos have a heck of a quarterback controversy brewing between Case Keenum, Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly. Bridgewater might be better than all three and worth a one-year flier for a GM (John Elway) who seems to like to collect (and trade) quarterbacks.
Jacksonville: The Jaguars reached the AFC championship game with Blake Bortles last season, but that feels like an aberration. They might be able to go farther with Bridgewater running the offense, And team president Tom Coughlin sure knows how important having the right quarterback is.
Tampa Bay: Jameis Winston will miss the first three games of the NFL season due to a suspension and he'll be replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick. Not only is Bridgewater a heck of a lot better than Fitzpatrick, the Bucs seem to be tiring of Winston. There could be an opening down there for a long-term replacement.
New Orleans: Brees is 39 and there's no obvious replacement on the roster. It would be a gamble, but if they get Bridgewater down there they'd have a few months head start on signing him to a long-term deal.