ORLANDO, Fla. — It seems the health of newly signed Jets’ quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has some questions.
Bridgewater, who signed a one-year, incentive-laden contract worth $15 million is only guaranteed a $500,000 signing bonus and a $500,000 workout bonus. His 2018 base salary is $5 million, but that’s not guaranteed.
The contract was structured this way because Bridgewater is coming off a severe knee injury that cost him nearly two seasons with the Vikings and if he doesn’t make the 53-man roster, the worst the Jets have done is pay him $1 million.
Bridgewater passed a physical with the Jets before signing his contract, yet Todd Bowles didn’t give a good indication if the 25-year old will be moving around for organized team activities which start next month.
“I’ll see where he is closer to that point,” Bowles said Tuesday of whether Bridgewater will be ready to go for OTAs. “But we expect him to be throwing in the spring and that’s about all we can expect right now.”
Bridgewater’s former coach with the Vikings, Mike Zimmer, told reporters on Tuesday he liked what he saw from his quarterback in practices last year. But the Vikings’ doctors had concerns.
“The reports I’d get back from the medical people weren’t as positive as I was about it,” Zimmer said, according to ESPN. “That’s kind of how it came down is that his knee wasn’t as … he still has some recovery to do. When I watched him in practice, he moved well, I didn’t see limitations but from what I was told there was some.”
Bridgewater suffered a torn ACL and a dislocated left kneecap in a non-contact training camp practice drill in August 2016.
He returned to play in a limited role last season, throwing just two passes. Bridgewater is wearing a heavy brace over his left knee and when he spoke with reporters a few weeks ago said it was up to the Jets’ trainers and doctors to determine when he would fully step onto the field.
The Jets knew they were gambling when they signed the former Pro Bowl quarterback. Given the limited amount of money invested, it seems worth it, especially if he wins a starting job.
“He passed his physical and he got a [clean] bill of health, right there,” Bowles said. “So in the spring, we’ll just be excited to see him and whatever happens there happens.”