We will go over what happened in the last regular-season game for the Saints and discuss if they will sign Antonio Brown. In addition, The Saints will have a Minnesota Miracle revenge game against the Vikings next week.
Saints vs. Panthers Recap
The Saints ended the regular with a 13-3 record (7-1 on the road) after a convincing 42-10 win against the Panthers in Carolina, easily covering the -14 spread that most sportsbooks set for them.
Drew Brees completed 19 of 30 passes for 253 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Brees fell short of the completion percentage record he set last year (74.4 percent). And he also fell just short of his 16th straight 3,000-yard passing season. However, he has to feel well about the way he and the Saints offense have been performing recently. Brees has 15 touchdown passes and zero interceptions over the last four games.
Latavius Murray had 61 rushing yards on 17 carries against the Panthers, Alvin Kamara ran for 39 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries and Tre’Quan Smith caught five passes for 56 yards and one touchdown.
The Saints took a 35-3 lead at halftime and never looked back. If you backed the Saints -14 like SBR said then you were pretty sure about your chances of cashing that bet as soon as they were ahead 14-0 in the first quarter.
Teddy Bridgewater Could Have Earned a $250,000 Bonus for Throwing One More Touchdown
Teddy Bridgewater had to start five games for the Saints earlier this season and he could have earned an incentive in Week 17.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Bridgewater would have earned a $250,000 bonus for throwing one more touchdown pass against the Panthers last Sunday:
Saints’ QB Teddy Bridgewater, who has nine touchdown passes this season, gets a $250,000 bonus if he throws 10 touchdown passes this season. So Bridgewater needs one TD pass today vs. Panthers for a $250,000 bonus.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 29, 2019
Drew Brees suffered a significant thumb injury in the Week 2 game against the Rams. As a result, the Saints had to start Bridgewater under center until Brees could return to the field.
In five starts, Bridgewater completed 69.7 percent of his attempts (115-for-165) for 1,205 yards and nine touchdowns with just two interceptions. Most importantly, he led the Saints to a 5-0 record with him as the starter, keeping them on top of the NFC South during Brees’ absence.
Bridgewater did a remarkable job filling in for Brees but one more touchdown pass could’ve netted him $250,000.
It was tough for him to have a chance to throw a touchdown last Sunday. The Saints were still fighting for a better seed in the playoffs and they played all of their starters. With the Saints taking a 42-10 lead to the fourth quarter and the game pretty much decided, head coach Sean Payton let Bridgewater get some snaps with the offense.
Payton wanted Bridgewater to have another touchdown so he could achieve the incentive but even though he didn’t get it, the Saints will likely pay him the $250,000 bonus to thank him for keeping the offense afloat while Brees was out.
Saints to Sign Antonio Brown?
Though Antonio Brown worked out with the Saints last week, providing excitement, head coach Sean Payton apparently decided not to offer the talented wideout a contract for the rest of the season.
This was Payton’s reasoning, as he told CBS Sports: “The process is something we take seriously, and it’s important relative to the makeup of the team. We’re doing our homework. I think part of that is credibility we’ve already established. There’s been a number of players that we’ve signed or drafted in years past. Some worked out, some haven’t. I had never met him before so I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to him, just like I did with the other five players.”
The Saints are very deep at wide receiver this season, with Michael Thomas leading the unit along with Ted Ginn Jr. and rookies Deonte Harris and Lil’Jordan Humphrey. That said, adding Brown would have given them a lethal one-two punch at wideout.
Thomas recently set an NFL record for most catches in a season, needing just 15 games to set the new mark of 145 receptions. He finished the season with 149 catches, breaking Marvin Harrison’s previous best.
A player like Brown, as big of a threat on the opposite side, would have made the Saints a clear Super Bowl favorite.
Brown’s history of causing problems both off and on the field made many teams be hesitant to take a chance on him. Brown has as much talent as anyone in the NFL, he is arguably among the most talented wide receivers in the league today but his problems can outweigh his talent.
Though Brown has taken responsibility for his actions, he is always a risk to create controversy, especially with his social media posts.
There have also been reports that he may face a future suspension for his actions once the investigation for a rape accusation and lawsuit by his former trainer concludes. That is obviously another thing that could prevent teams from signing him next season and the Saints clearly considered all of this as well.