Report: Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers' Relationship 'Strained' Before Sam Darnold Trade

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVApril 12, 2021

Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater warms up before an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
AP Photo/Brian Blanco

Teddy Bridgewater now has competition for the starting quarterback role with the Carolina Panthers, but his relationship with the team was "already strained" before the recent trade for Sam Darnold, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

Bridgewater has received permission to seek a trade that would give him a fresh start with a new team.

As Breer suggested, the quarterback had likely been hearing trade rumors throughout the offseason involving the Panthers. 

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Carolina offered Bridgewater to the Detroit Lions as part of a package to land Matthew Stafford, but the deal wasn't completed.

Joseph Person of The Athletic previously detailed the extensive ways the Panthers were searching for a quarterback upgrade, including potential deals for Deshaun Watson or moving up in the NFL draft.

These discussions showed the Panthers clearly weren't happy with Bridgewater, who was inconsistent during his first year with the team. The 28-year-old finished last season with 3,733 passing yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 15 starts, adding 279 rushing yards and five scores on the ground.

Carolina finished the year 5-11 in the first season under head coach Matt Rhule.

Darnold gives the team another high-upside option if he can bounce back from his own disappointing season with the New York Jets.

Meanwhile, Bridgewater can try to find a new home where he can re-establish himself as a starter. 

A pay cut would help the Panthers facilitate a deal, although Breer noted the quarterback is owed $17 million and likely wouldn't drop below the $10 million he has guaranteed on his contract. Considering Bridgewater would have a $22.9 million cap hit in 2021 if he remains in Carolina, per Spotrac, the team is likely motivated to figure out a trade that works out for everyone.