Nearly two years removed from a devastating knee injury, Bridgewater is participating in the New York Jets‘ offseason program, but his status for the start of OTA practices May 22 remains up in the air.
Coach Todd Bowles, speaking Saturday at rookie minicamp, was noncommittal on whether Bridgewater will be a full participant.
“I can’t give you 100 percent,” Bowles said. “I’ll see when it gets to that. Then I’ll be able to tell you.”
Bowles said he expects Bridgewater “to be out there throwing and competing with everybody else,” but throwing and participating in team drills are two different things. Chances are Bridgewater will be limited in some fashion.
Bowles gave a telling response when asked if Bridgewater has been running with teammates in conditioning drills.
“He’s been working out,” Bowles said cryptically.
Bridgewater, 25, suffered major damage to his knee in the Minnesota Vikings‘ 2016 training camp. The former starter essentially missed two full seasons, as he was limited to only a handful of snaps in one mop-up performance last season.
The Jets signed Bridgewater to a one-year, $6 million contract, including a $500,000 signing bonus. He also has a $500,000 workout bonus. They have four quarterbacks on the roster: Darnold, Bridgewater, incumbent Josh McCown and former second-round pick Christian Hackenberg, whose days appear numbered.
In perhaps a last-ditch effort to salvage his career, Hackenberg changed his throwing motion while working with his personal quarterback coach this offseason, as first reported by the NFL Network.
Bowles confirmed the change, adding that he had no idea that Hackenberg was planning to tweak his delivery.
“He hasn’t talked to me about it,” Bowles said. “He just worked on it. I learned about it after the fact.”
Bowles said he hasn’t noticed a difference in Hackenberg’s throwing motion, probably because “he hasn’t been on the field enough for me to notice.” The team hasn’t conducted practices yet.
“We’ll see how everything goes,” Bowles said. “I’m not saying it needed to be revamped or it’s not revamped. Production and everything else will take care of that.”
Hackenberg didn’t play a snap in his first two seasons.