What’s next for Teddy Bridgewater?

Carolina Panthers v Minnesota Vikings
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The Panthers quickly fell in love with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater during the 2020 offseason. After only one year, the Panthers have quickly fallen out of love with Bridgewater.

The obvious takeaway from Carolina’s trade for quarterback Sam Darnold is that Bridgewater likely won’t be a Panther in 2021.

The problem for the Panthers is that the contract given to Bridgewater last year includes $10 million in fully-guaranteed salary for 2021, with another $7 million in non-guaranteed salary on top of that. Bridgewater would surely need to re-do his deal to facilitate a trade, but with $10 million in guaranteed pay, why would he?

There’s one important reason for considering a reduced salary. The Panthers could squat on Bridgewater and cut him in August, making it hard for him to land elsewhere with a real chance to contribute in 2021. By taking less now (maybe $12 million for the season and free agency in 2022), Bridgewater gets a landing spot and a chance to become fully ensconced.

The best two options for that kind of a trade would be the 49ers and the Broncos. San Francisco could make Bridgewater the starter until the rookie is ready, at dramatically less than the $25 million Jimmy Garoppolo is due to receive. Then, the 49ers could either trade or cut Garoppolo, saving millions in cap space and avoiding any potential locker-room issues as veterans line up behind the incumbent.

In Denver, former Vikings assistant G.M. George Paton is looking for a Drew Lock upgrade. Bridgewater was on the brink of a breakout in 2016 in Minnesota, before a fluke knee injury. Paton could be intrigued by the possibility of giving Bridgewater a chance to grow into the job with the Broncos while otherwise looking for a long-term fix — if they need one. (Bridgewater is still only 28.)

The Panthers have a real incentive to work out a trade given the possibility that, if Bridgewater is cut, he’ll end up in Tampa Bay, as the backup to Tom Brady. Last year, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said that his top targets at quarterback were Brady and then Bridgewater. If/when the Panthers dump Teddy, he could sign with the Bucs for the minimum of $1.075 million — and the Panthers would be on the hook for the remaining $8.925 million.

Thus, it makes plenty of sense for the Panthers to trade Bridgewater instead. It also could make sense for the Panthers to pay some of Bridgewater’s fully-guaranteed salary in order to get a late-round draft pick or two for Teddy.

48 responses to “What’s next for Teddy Bridgewater?

  1. Sam Darnold is considered a bust by the Jets. Just because Carolina traded for him does not mean that he will automatically take over as starter in Carolina. $10 mil is not much money for a quarterback. It is in fact what some teams pay for a backup quarterback. Rather than getting rid of Bridgewater, they can let him and Darnold battle it out for the starting job and have the loser serve as backup qb. I think New Orleans may trade for Bridgewater because he did well backing up Brees in 2019. So, there is really no hurry to trade Bridgewater even if he loses the competition for starting quarterback.

  2. Teddy is a good game manager. He is the perfect bridge QB or high quality back up. In the right circumstances he can take a team pretty far. His only downside is that he doesn’t really elevate a sub par team.

  3. They are stuck with him. No team will trade for him with that contract just to be a solid game manager. He’s not taking a pay cut to help out with a trade.

  4. Christian McCaffrey only played 3 games last year. If he had played a full season, Teddy would still be the QB

  5. 1) He will be the backup for 2020. They save $21M cutting him next season.
    2) They could designate him a post-June 1 release to free up $7.9M cap space. If the team feels confident enough that PJ Walker can be the backup, this is an option.
    3) $22M is steep for a backup player but they do have the room to do it. Maybe they give a team a 4th rounder to take his contract off their books.

  6. Frisco will trade for Teddy Bridgewater only if a rain dance will end a drought. Keep on dancing. Getting rid of Jimmy G. will mean that Frisco will throw in the towel and give up any hope for the 2021 Super Bowl. It is not going to happen.

  7. It’s not like a different QB is gonna make any difference to the Jets. They shoulda kept Darnold, traded that pick for a half dozen decent players

  8. Teddy Bridgewater at $12 million is a lot better option than some of these guys pulling down $30+ million. There are very, very few QBs who can put the team on their back.

  9. It’s such a tragedy how Teddy’s career was de-railed by that freak injury. Just as he was about to break out, he’s been on this endless cycle of trying to prove himself. And no, one covid season on an injury-decimated re-building season with an entirely new coaching staff and a brand new team for him, is not a chance to prove one’s self. One more year in Carolina would be an accurate measure of what Teddy is capable of.

  10. Hmm…Bridgewater did pretty well in MN, and was more than adequate in his year of ‘graduate school’ QB tutelage under Payton and Brees, winning five of six games he started. Suddenly, with a wonderkid coach and a hedge fund owner who prides himself on being the smartest guy in the room for any topic, he goes sub-.500. Could the issue lay somewhere other than Bridgewater?

  11. Bridgewater to SF is a move I hadn’t considered. If that happens, Garoppolo becomes expendable, possibly cheaper to trade, and more amenable to taking a trade on a reworked deal. Check this out: Bridgewater to SF, Garoppolo reworks a contract with New England or Denver, contingent on a trade. Lance and Fields, if they haven’t been picked up by the 8th pick, will slide a bit, with one of them being picked up by Denver/New England.

    All speculation to this point, but sometimes speculating is fun!

  12. Bridgewater is a great backup qb at this point in his career. He is very capable of coming in and winning a some games. He is not a starter though.

  13. Bridgewater has always played like a backup QB. Always.
    Stop this nonsense about his injury derailing his career.
    It was a knee injury and he sat out 2 seasons.
    Now several years removed from it he’s fine.

    He managed to tread enough water in NO to tally some wins because he had a very talented team around him.
    He parlayed that stint into a lucrative deal, good for him.

    But nobody except clueless Viking fans still believe he was, or is, anything more than a decent backup QB.
    It’s time Teddy clued himself into that realization.
    There are still plenty of jobs out there for him.

  14. 8 times last year Teddy stepped on the field with a chance to win or tie in the 4th quarter. 8 times he lost. That is less than a game manager. He is worse than Dalton, Winston, Alex Smith, Fitzpatrick and who knows how many others.
    He had two 1000 yd WR and some decent role players to win even one of those 8 games. And he had CMC for one or two.

  15. 49ers traded up to get a top 3 college quarterback for several reasons.
    1. to insure against injury to Jimmy G.
    2. to have a better backup for Jimmy G. than Nick Mullens and CJ Beathard
    3. to insure against Jimmy G. not playing as well as he did in the past.

    49ers are not getting rid of Jimmy G. because they are not
    1. trying to save $25 million in cap space
    2. giving up on Jimmy G.
    3. giving up on the 2021 season
    4. hallucinating about a rookie quarterback winning the Super Bowl for them.

    For these reasons, it is extremely unlikely that they will trade for Bridgewater. They think their number 1 pick will be good enough as backup QB.

  16. Viking Fan Blames Officials…..Everybody Drink says:
    April 5, 2021 at 8:23 pm
    Bridgewater has always played like a backup QB. Always.
    Maybe, however his one year as the Viking starter he bested Rodgers and won the division.

  17. Carolina’s QB situation reflects how the organization has been run as of late.

  18. californianewton says:
    April 5, 2021 at 6:29 pm

    $10 mil is not much money for a quarterback.


    You’re not reading that right. He costs Carolina $10 million if they cut him, $17 million if they keep him.

  19. I really don’t get the bad press Teddy gets here. The Panthers turned over their roster, designed an offense around an amazing player (McCaffrey), and he didn’t play virtually the whole season.
    Last year they finally started utilizing Curtis Samuel, and now he’s got a very good contract. Sam should be #3 on this roster. Teddy year 2 is a show me season.

  20. With Bridgewater you are getting an injury prone Colt McCoy clone. He is a serviceable back up, but not starter material. He won’t be replacing Jimmy G in SF nor Lock in Denver. That is pure wishful thinking.

  21. he should not even be in the league anymore, he’s always been garbage

  22. Sure, they could trade him to avoid having to owe him too much, but they’re not shipping him to NO, when they know first hand that Payton would definitely have a solid plan for him.

  23. Career passer rating –

    Teddy Bridgewater: 89.5
    Sam Darnold: 78.6

    Career TD/INT –

    Teddy Bridgewater: 53-36
    Sam Darnold: 45-39

    Massive downgrade for the Panthers. And they gave up a 2nd round pick to get him!

  24. Teddy literally has double the years of sam denied and almost similar stats. If darning sucks so does Bridgewater. Bridgewater also didn’t start his career on the garbage jets. At one point teddy wasn’t even passing for 1 full touchdown a game. He isn’t a game manager because he doesn’t win. Trent differ was a game manager when the ravens won. Peyton mannin was a game manager when he won a superbowl with the broncos.

  25. Feel bad for Bridgewater – he’s a solid QB but 8-8 is probably the best you’re gonna get with him. He will play for another non-contender & collect his paycheck, always looking over his shoulder at his replacement.

  26. Before Teddy signed with Carolina, I thought he’d be an outstanding fit for the Patriots. Now New England has cap space tied up on all the new players and resigned Cam, a very different-style quarterback. Too bad.

  27. I would take my money…if they cut him then ride off into the sunset and enjoy the rest of life.

  28. RMoss84HOF says:
    April 5, 2021 at 9:50 pm
    Viking Fan Blames Officials…..Everybody Drink says:
    April 5, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    Bridgewater has always played like a backup QB. Always.
    Maybe, however his one year as the Viking starter he bested Rodgers and won the division.

    Yes, in 2015, Teddy and the Vikings managed to edge out the Packers for the division title by a single game.
    But this narrative you purples love to push about Bridgewater besting Rodgers that year, is just further proof how ignorant your fan base is about football.

    Despite all the NFL rules being slanted towards offensive production, Bridgewater started 16 games, tossed a whole 14 tds. against 9 picks.
    Did he even top 3,000 yards?
    He led a juggernaut offense that managed to rank 29th in offense, that season, despite the fact they still had a healthy and dominant Adrian Peterson in his backfield.
    Bridgewater managed pedestrian numbers, the kind that would make a decent backup QB proud.

    And though he did “out-duel” Rodgers in Week 17 to secure the division.
    One might look at the fact that Bridgewater completed only 10 passes that game.
    10 passes, racking up 99 yards through the air, 0 tds. while tossing a pick.
    More knowledgeable fans would probably give credit where it belongs, and that would be to their defense that stymied the Packers all day and held them to just 13 points.

    But Hey, you choose to remember the Bridgewater era any way you see fit.
    The rest of us will just live in reality.

  29. Put Teddy with a team with a tough DEFENSE, a good running game, and one or two capable recievers and he’ll win 11 games.

  30. Gives the Pats another option. A game manager with that improved defense and ball control offense would make them a contender.

  31. Between Bridgewater and Darnold, Teddy is the better QB. He should pack his bags and head back to the Saints who will appreciate him more than the Panthers do. Sam Darnold plays QB like a “deer in the headlights” and now the Panthers need a QB.

  32. I heard somewhere that Kirk cousins doesn’t play well when he’s looking over his shoulder. That is why we have Sean Mannion now who is no threat to any starting QB. Or backup QB for that matter. It is also why all the backup QBs sign one year deals so if they get into the action and play well. The Vikes can ward off anything like a quarterback controversy. I heard Cousins confidence is pretty fragile and he plays badly when his confidence is low. If it is true, absolutely no Teddy. I can’t vouch for the information but I tend to believe it.

  33. I’ve always liked this guy. He had a great attitude and is well spoken and always seemed like a nice guy. I wish him well but I liken his cause as someone jumping into the ocean and the life boats are taken.

  34. harianus1985 says:
    April 6, 2021 at 12:55 pm
    Bridgwater hasn’t lost to Rogers in over 1000 days! Let that sink in!

    Who’s that?

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