Will the next Dolphins quarterback please stand up?
It won’t be Tyrod Taylor.
And it won’t be Teddy Bridgewater.
A day after the Dolphins made their pitch to Bridgewater in Davie, he was back in New Orleans, signing a new contract with the Saints.
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He will remain the backup to Drew Brees for the immediate future, and possibly his successor in the years to come.
Bridgewater announced his decision in a series of tweets Thursday — 13 years to the day that Brees signed with the Saints after Dolphins doctors wrongly determined his injured shoulder was too much of a risk.
The first was a nod to history: “13 years later, I’m trying to see if history will repeat itself in my favor at some point.”
The second was less oblique.
It was a picture of Bridgewater in a Saints uniform, with the caption: “Run it back Turbo.”
ESPN reported that Bridgewater will sign a one-year, $7.5 million fully guaranteed contract. Bridgewater was only going to leave New Orleans if the Dolphins offered life-changing money.
The Dolphins did not.
Bridgewater’s decision leaves Chris Grier and Brian Flores with no great options, raising the possibility, whoever slight, that they turn to Ryan Tannehill, who remains on the roster at a $26.6 million cap figure.
That, of course, was never the Dolphins’ plan. They have been preparing to move on from him since December, but given the last week’s developments, it might be their best remaining option.
Taylor, a veteran who has started a playoff game, was said to be high on their list. But he decided to sign a two-year deal to be Philip Rivers’ backup in Los Angeles.
So they brought in Bridgewater for a visit Wednesday night, the earliest allowed by NFL rules. He went to Miami Northwestern and spends his offseason in South Florida, so it was not a difficult trip.
They met for a couple of hours, and he certainly saw the appeal of starting for his hometown team. But the Dolphins did not want to pay him as a starter, and he surely expected he would take some licks behind the Dolphins’ incomplete offensive line.
So he flew back to New Orleans, met with Saints brass, and decided to stay put.
The Dolphins’ next logical choice would be simply to hang onto Tannehill, a scenario that they have at least considered. What other explanation is there for him remaining on their roster?
And given the list of available free-agent quarterbacks — Blake Bortles, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brock Osweiler might be the best of the bunch — no one they could add at this point would be an upgrade.
There is another scenario: Signing Colin Kaepernick, the hero to many and the villain to the rest who last played in 2016.
No team has signed him since then. Kaepernick argued, seemingly successfully, it was because of his social justice activism. He was the first to kneel during the national anthem and has since become the face of the movement.
Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL, saying that owners colluded to keep him out of the league, and must have had a strong case, because the league offered a confidential settlement last month.
Miami has the luxury of time with Tannehill; not a cent of his 2019 salary is guaranteed until the start of the season. So it is certainly possible that they keep him on the roster through the draft, and if they take his successor in the first round, cut him then.
For the record, the Dolphins do have two other quarterbacks on their roster: Luke Falk and Jake Rudock. Neither has started in a game in the NFL.
▪ The Dolphins elected to pay Robert Quinn his $1.1 million roster bonus Thursday instead of cutting him, upping the odds that the veteran pass rusher will be on their roster for the start of the regular season.
The Dolphins could have cut him before Thursday with no penalty, wiping the entirety of his $12.9 million salary and cap hit off the books. That was the expected move, considering his diminished play in recent years.
The Dolphins still could cut him or trade him and owe nothing more than what they have already paid.