The Carolina Panthers' trade for Jets quarterback Sam Darnold on Tuesday and the Panthers already planning to pick up Darnold's fifth-year rookie option for 2022 means that the former No. 3 overall pick in the draft clearly will be the team's 2021 starter. It also surely means that 2020 starter Teddy Bridgewater will be on another roster this season. SportsLine offers odds on where.
Any team that acquires Bridgewater (26-23 SU as a starter, and a stellar 38-16 against the spread in games he has thrown at least 10 passes -- i.e. some in relief) will have to pay his $17 million base salary, with $10 million already guaranteed, but Bridgewater could offer to renegotiate his deal for a chance to start this season. The Panthers can save more than $7.9 million by releasing Bridgewater after June 1 and in theory could keep him as Darnold's backup, but that would be very awkward and the team has reportedly given Bridgewater permission to speak with other clubs to help facilitate a potential trade.
Barring an injury, there appears to be just one destination where Bridgewater would have a good chance of starting in 2021 and that's in Denver over inconsistent Drew Lock. There have been multiple reports that the Broncos will at least look into it as new general manager George Paton was in the Vikings' front office when Bridgewater was drafted by Minnesota in 2014.
The Denver Post's Troy Renck tweeted that the team in theory could trade for Bridgewater, still take a quarterback in the first round of the draft and simply dump Lock. According to KUSA-TV's Mike Klis, the Broncos and Panthers spoke about a possible Bridgewater trade even before the Darnold deal.
Saints coach Sean Payton loved Bridgewater when the quarterback was there, and he went 5-0 as the starter for an injured Drew Brees in 2019. Both sides parted amicably when Bridgewater signed with the Panthers. Ironically, when the Saints acquired Bridgewater the first time it also had to do with Darnold. New Orleans got Bridgewater from the Jets during the 2018 preseason, which Bridgewater began as Darnold's backup.
The Saints have Taysom Hill and the re-signed Jameis Winston at quarterback, but Payton has preferred to have three quarterbacks on the roster in the past to free up Hill's multi-dimensional role. It's hard to imagine the Panthers trading Bridgewater in the division, but if that's the best offer they get … New Orleans could increase as an option if Bridgewater is released.
With the Deshaun Watson off-the-field saga getting uglier by the day -- Beats by Dre has ended its relationship with Watson and Nike suspended its endorsement deal with the QB -- and the chances increasing he's not going to play much if at all this season, could Houston be interested? The Texans have Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Finley at the moment, but Bridgewater has had much more success than either of them.
New England has been very aggressive this offseason but hasn't upgraded from Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham at quarterback – Bridgewater could compete with Newton for the No. 1 job.
JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington tweeted that, according to sources, the Football Team "won't be calling on Teddy Bridgewater" but we will list the WFT regardless as the team's offensive coordinator Scott Turner worked with Bridgewater was his QBs coach in Minnesota.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace likes to collect overpriced veteran quarterbacks (Andy Dalton, Nick Foles). It's hard to see him fitting Bridgewater on the roster unless Foles is somehow traded, but Chicago did pursue Bridgewater last offseason.
If San Francisco is truly that down on Jimmy Garoppolo, cutting him and adding Bridgewater would save several million dollars for next season. Bridgewater, then, could serve as the bridge QB to whomever the Niners pick at No. 3 overall.
What about the Jets? Would that be ironic? Perhaps if Bridgewater is released, Gang Green could sign him to mentor presumed No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson. James Morgan, one of the Jets' fourth-round picks last year, is the current backup.
Finally, the Super Bowl champion Bucs. They will not be trading for Bridgewater, but if he's cut free it's not out of the question he goes to Tampa to back up Tom Brady for a year and chase a ring.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Which will be Teddy Bridgewater's next team?
- Broncos Even
- Saints +250
- Patriots +500
- Texans +700
- Washington +900
- Bears +1000
- 49ers +1200
- Jets +1500
- Bucs +1800
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