Teddy Bridgewater has been dubbed as a potential target for the Cleveland Browns as the team looks to fill its backup quarterback spot on the depth chart behind Deshaun Watson.
Bridgewater is one of the top remaining free agents available at quarterback and would fit the mold for what the Browns are looking for. Zac Jackson of The Athletic believes Bridgewater — who is familiar with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski from his time in Minnesota — is a candidate to fill the backup role.
“A Teddy Bridgewater or someone that you’ve heard of. Obviously, Teddy’s pedigree is better than most and he has a tie to Kevin Stefanski,” Jackson said on his podcast “Civilized Barking.” “If you do get in a pinch where Watson gets a high-ankle sprain and has to miss 2-3 games, can run a similar offense, has been through a lot in this league, can learn on the fly and can at least give you a chance.”
Jackson also mentioned Marcus Mariota as an option but he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.
Bridgewater Would be Experienced ‘Insurance Policy’
The Browns have not been shy about spending on experienced backup quarterbacks previously with Case Keenum and Jacoby Brissett — albeit the situation was Brissett was unique with Watson suspended.
Bridgewater is no stranger to filling a similar role, doing so with the Dolphins last season behind Tua Tagovailoa and seeing some time as the starter. Bridgewater played on a one-year, $4.5 million deal last season with the Dolphins, so Browns could afford to make it work.
Prior to his time in Miami, Bridgewater started 29 combined games over two seasons with the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. While his playmaking ability is not close to that of Watson, he’d be a solid, experienced fit behind him.
“You’re looking for a guy who fits in the room and can help your offense, can help Watson, every single day. He can be the bridge from Watson to Stefanski and some of the other guys,” Jackson said. “You need a guy that if you’re missing your starter for two, three, or four games, can keep you afloat in the playoff race. If your starter gets hurt for half the season, you’re screwed. If your starter isn’t great — you’re screwed and it’d be the worst trade in NFL history. They expect better from Watson and just want the insurance policy there.”
Bridgewater has 65 starts to his name over eight seasons in the NFL. His best year came in 2015 when he made the Pro Bowl as a member of the Vikings, passing for 3,231 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Browns Unlikely to Roll With Kellen Mond as Backup
The only other quarterback beyond Watson that the Browns have under contract for next season is Kellen Mond. Cleveland claimed Mond off waivers after final roster cuts last season. He did not suit up for a game and has been a developmental project for the Browns.
The Browns have not shut the door on Mond being the backup, although Jackson doesn’t believe it’s something the team wants to do.
“It’s not Kellen Mond,” Jackson said. “He’ll play in the summer. They’ll try to develop him, which you do any time you get a guy at that position for nothing that you think has some raw talent. And it’s very raw with Kellen.”
Other notable quarterback options available via free agency are Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan and Mason Rudolph.