The Carolina Panthers reportedly offered the Detroit Lions this trade package for Matthew Stafford: Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and a fifth-round pick. The Los Angeles Rams were able to trump that package quite a bit and Stafford will be in Los Angeles next season. According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, Bridgewater probably will not be with the Panthers in 2021 regardless.
In his latest NFL insider notes column, La Canfora writes about how Panthers owner David Tepper absolutely is consumed by the prospect of trading for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson – of course, he starred collegiately in the Carolinas at Clemson – and that three first-round picks and running back Christian McCaffrey could be on the table in trade. Perhaps Bridgewater could be, too.
La Canfora writes that Tepper doesn't want a game manager like Bridgewater under center and that "another year of Bridgewater at the helm is beyond unlikely at this point, even with $10M of his $17M in salary already guaranteed." La Canfora adds the only realistic way Bridgewater is around next season is if the Panthers can't get Watson or that whichever QB they draft in the first round needs a year of sitting and learning in the NFL.
Last month, new Panthers GM Scott Fitterer didn't commit to Bridgewater and said one of his biggest criteria for defining a franchise quarterback was "someone who can win when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter.''
Bridgewater was 0-8 in 2020 when he had a chance on his final possession to win or tie a game. Overall, he was 4-11 as a starter, completing 340 of 492 passes (69.1%) for 3,733 yards and 15 touchdowns to 11 interceptions for a rating of 92.1 that was 22nd. To be fair, Bridgewater only had the incomparable McCaffrey healthy for three games.
In his career as a starter, Bridgewater is 26-23 SU and in games he has thrown at least five passes (i.e. a few in relief), he is a sterling 35-16 against the spread. As a road underdog, he's an amazing 18-4 ATS (1-6 ATS last year).
Bridgewater is in the second year of a three-year, $63 million contract and carries a cap hit of nearly $23 million and dead cap hit of $20 million in 2021. That means a release isn't realistic. However, with Carolina already having paid that $10 million bonus of his $17 million base salary for this year, Bridgewater is very tradeable to clubs that don't select a QB early in the draft or can't land someone such as Watson or Sam Darnold in trade or sign a veteran like Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor, Cam Newton, etc., in free agency.
New England and Chicago immediately come to mind as potential trade partners. The Bears looked into Bridgewater last offseason but couldn't offer as much money and instead traded for Nick Foles. Chicago clearly prefers Carson Wentz via trade, but Wentz was traded to the Colts on Thursday (Indy could have been a Bridgewater option if had lost out on Wentz).
The Patriots presumably aren't bringing Newton back and Bridgewater's conservative passing style would seem an ideal fit in Josh McDaniels' offense. New England also pursued Bridgewater last offseason.
Could New Orleans bring Bridgewater back once Drew Brees officially retires? Bridgewater was 5-0 as a starter with the Saints in 2019 when Brees was hurt. It does seem that Coach Sean Payton is more likely to stick with re-signing Jameis Winston to compete with Taysom Hill.
How about Pittsburgh if the Steelers say goodbye to Ben Roethlisberger? Washington also is looking for a starter. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk recently suggested that if the Vikings decide to trade Kirk Cousins (to San Francisco?) they should pursue Bridgewater, who was the No. 32 overall pick in the 2014 draft by Minnesota and played well there before suffering a serious injury.
If bettors are so inclined, they can wager on Bridgewater priced +15000 on the moneyline at William Hill Sportsbook to win 2021 NFL MVP honors.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: If not with Carolina, which team will Teddy Bridgewater be playing for Week 1 of the 2021 season?
- Patriots +250
- Bears +300
- Washington +500
- Texans +900
- Saints +1200
- Steelers +1500
- Vikings +2000
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