Instead of playing for his hometown Dolphins, Bridgewater will continue his course with the New Orleans Saints under coach Sean Payton with hopes to succeed quarterback Drew Brees as the future Saints starter.
“13 years later, I’m trying to see if history will repeat itself in my favor at some point,” Bridgewater posted from his Twitter account on Thursday, addressing how Brees spurned the Dolphins to sign a 6-year, $60 million deal to join the Saints on the same date in 2006.
Bridgewater’s new deal with New Orleans is not as lucrative. ESPN first reported he agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $12.5 million, with $7.5 million guaranteed.
Details of Bridgewater’s second offer from the Dolphins are not known at this time. He visited the Dolphins facility Wednesday night, one day after rejecting Miami’s initial two-year, $10 million offer on Tuesday.
Bridgewater and the Dolphins were unable to agree to a new deal so the 2014 first-round pick could compete as a starting quarterback while Miami rebuilds its roster this offseason.
Miami intends to draft a future franchise quarterback in the 2019 and/or 2020 NFL drafts, and could have relied on Bridgewater to bridge the gap.
Instead, seven-year veteran Ryan Tannehill remains on the Dolphins roster with inexperienced quarterbacks Luke Falk and Jake Rudock also under contract.
Miami hopes to trade or release Tannehill, who led the Dolphins to a 42-46 record as a starter since being drafted as their first round pick in 2012.
If Miami cuts Tannehill, it would likely be as a June 1 designation in order to save $18.75 million in salary-cap space. If Miami releases him earlier, it would save $13.1 million.
Bridgewater, who was an unrestricted free agent, was initially expected to re-sign with the Saints after declining Miami’s first offer. His new offer exceeds the initial one-year, $7 million the Saints gave him earlier this week.
Bridgewater’s visit to the Dolphins facility followed free agent quarterback Tyrod Taylor rejecting a similarly low offer from Miami on Wednesday, according to a league source.
Taylor has reportedly signed a two-year, $11 million deal to back up Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Bridgewater became the Saints’ backup last season after being traded to New Orleans during training camp last year by the New York Jets, who drafted quarterback Sam Darnold with the third pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
Bridgewater started in 28 of 29 games compiling a 17-11 record as a starter during his first two seasons in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings, before suffering a gruesome knee injury that caused him to miss the entire 2016 season.
If the Dolphins do not add another quarterback through free agency, they could choose one during the 2019 NFL draft next month.
Miami has the No. 13 pick, when the draft begins on April 25 in Nashville, Tenn., and one pick in each of the seven rounds.
Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, the potential No. 1 overall pick, may be out of Miami’s range. But Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, Missouri’s Drew Lock, Duke’s Daniel Jones or West Virginia’s Will Grier could be possible options.
Miami could also plan its 2019 season around the loaded 2020 quarterback class, which could include Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa, Oregon's Justin Herbert and Georgia’s Jake Fromm next year.
Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is an early favorite to be the top quarterback in the 2021 draft if available.
If the Dolphins wish to sign a quarterback this offseason, former Jacksonville Jaguars starter Blake Bortles, former Oakland Raiders backup A.J. McCarron, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, former New York Jets backup Josh McCown, former Arizona Cardinals backup Mike Glennon and last season’s Dolphins backup Brock Osweiler are among available free agents.