The New York Jets acquired much more than a third rounder as it pertains to the Teddy Bridgewater-New Orleans Saints deal.
The reactions came in fast and furious when the compensation for Teddy Bridgewater’s services was announced. A third-round pick by way of the New Orleans Saints …
That’s it, a (probably) late third rounder (for the disappointed crowd). Or, that’s what the extra freebie pick was (for those who liked the return), keeping the excellent free agent signing back in the spring at the forefront.
Fortunately for the New York Jets, that third-round selection is nothing in comparison to the real return of the deal.
Peace of mind.
You should know the saying by now. In the NFL, the Not For Long organization Jerry Glanville once so famously dubbed, now is the only time.
“If you have two quarterbacks, you have none.”
Meaning, if a team employs more than one quarterback that could actually be “the guy,” that team is most likely still looking for its true leader at the most important position in sports during an offensive rules era in which the old-school Arena League blushes.
Now that Teddy is gone, Sam Darnold is the man. There can’t be any confusion, worries or doubts. He’s not only the future, he’s the present with a clear-cut backup in Josh McCown helping along the way.
Having the ability to convey this message without coach speak is worth its weight in gold. Coach speak can’t overcome the backup quarterback always representing the most popular player in the locker room (from the fans point of view) when the starter struggles. It’s much tougher for the fanbase to call for McCown than Bridgewater.
Think back to 2009. Mark Sanchez was a young 23-year-old USC kid drafted in the five-hole of that season’s draft. Despite many struggles and/or regular-season inconsistencies, never was there a doubt about his placement on the depth chart. This was even the case the following two seasons, including a 2010 campaign that kickstarted with HBO’s Hard Knocks and eventually culminated in a second-straight AFC championship game appearance.
Not until John Idzik drafted Geno Smith in the second round of 2013 was Sanchez challenged. Of course, we know what unfolded. Rex Ryan leaving the man who owns the Jets record with four playoff victories late in a meaningless Snoopy Bowl game to get hurt paved the way for Geno to start and Sanchez’s Jets tenure to end.
Obviously, if Darnold’s unchallenged Jets era finishes similar to Sanchez’s, the Jets will have issues. Not producing makes “being the man” a moot point. At the same time, rarely will a franchise own two legit franchise quarterbacks (unless the Green Bay Packers are in the Brett Favre era patiently awaiting to flip to the Aaron Rodgers chapters).
Think back to the San Deigo Chargers when both Drew Brees and Philip Rivers were employed simultaneously. It turned out both were franchise quarterbacks. But at the time, nobody knew what to think.
In accepting Rivers via the New York Giants (thanks to Eli Manning and daddy forcing hands), the Bolts found themselves in a sticky yet plentiful situation after Brees put up 27 touchdowns and 3,159 yards during a Pro Bowl 2004 season. That season marked Rivers’s rookie campaign as a top five drafted QB.
Something needed to change.
The Bolts allowed Brees to walk and the rest is history. Brees and Sean Payton have etched their names in Super Bowl history while Rivers immediately assumed the franchise-stud label.
Had they kept both, there would be no “one man.”
Of course, depth at the position (at any NFL position) is a tremendous asset. Quarterback is simply a unique animal. It cannot be handled the same way as your run-of-the-mill inside linebacker, for example.
Though depth was a terrific narrative this entire summer, Florham Park, New Jersey is much brighter now than it was earlier this week. This isn’t because Teddy Bridgewater showcased a nasty disposition. It comes down to making sure there’s just “one man.”
On Sept. 1, 2018, young Sam Darnold is that one man. Knowing this from jump street is much more valuable than a third-round selection.