The Denver Broncos and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater reportedly agreed to a restructured one-year, $11.5 million contract that will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported details of the deal Wednesday after the Broncos acquired the 2015 Pro Bowl selection from the Carolina Panthers in a trade before the 2021 NFL draft:
Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero
#Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater’s revised contract:<br><br>$7,062,500 signing bonus (paid by #Panthers)<br>$4,250,500 salary ($3M fully guaranteed)<br>$187,000 in per-game active bonuses<br><br>Total: 1 year, $11.5M (Denver pays $4,437,500)<br><br>2022 deleted, so Bridgewater can be a free agent in March
Bridgewater signed a three-year, $63 million contract with Carolina in March 2020 to take over as the team's starting quarterback following a successful two-year stint as Drew Brees' backup with the New Orleans Saints.
The former Minnesota Vikings starter was merely average in his return to a starting role. He tallied 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions across 15 games in 2020. He ranked 17th in ESPN's Total QBR (64.2) and received a similarly mediocre 66 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.
In turn, the Panthers decided to move on in the offseason. They made a trade with the New York Jets to acquire Sam Darnold, the No. 3 pick in the 2018 draft who's yet to meet expectations, and subsequently dealt Bridgewater to Denver in exchange for a sixth-round pick.
The 28-year-old Miami native will now have the opportunity to compete with Drew Lock for the top spot on Denver's depth chart for 2021.
"It will be something that at the end of the day, maybe not at the end of every day but over the course of OTAs and training camp, it'll be 50-50," Broncos head coach Vic Fangio told Mike Klis of 9News about the team's quarterback competition.
Lock, 24, showed some promise across five appearances as a rookie in 2019, but he finished with 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 13 games last year.
A blockbuster trade for the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers could bring an end to Denver's quarterback battle in a heartbeat.
ESPN's Dianna Russini reported Tuesday the Broncos are the team "most interested" in Rodgers, and they'll continue to make an effort to pull off a deal despite the Packers saying the three-time MVP is staying put.
"We're not going to trade Aaron Rodgers," Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst told reporters last week after the first round of the draft.
If Green Bay holds firm in that stance, Bridgewater is a slight favorite over Lock to win the starting job, but both players will probably end up making some starts before year's end.