ESPN's David Newton noted "don't be shocked" if the Panthers pursue Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa or Oregon's Justin Herbert if either player is still on the board when they pick at No. 7 overall.
New Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is in the process of trying to rebuild the organization in the wake of franchise stalwarts like Newton, Greg Olsen (signed with Seattle Seahawks as a free agent) and Luke Kuechly (retired) leaving this offseason.
The Panthers have already remade their quarterback depth chart this offseason, starting with the signing of Bridgewater. They are also signing XFL star P.J. Walker, per ESPN's Dianna Russini.
Bridgewater's deal is structured in such a way that the Panthers can get out of it with minimal salary cap ramifications after the 2021 season. He has a dead cap number of $5 million in the final year of the deal, per Spotrac.
Bridgewater is a safety net in the event one of the top quarterbacks isn't available in the draft. He looked terrific last season with 1,384 yards, nine touchdowns and a 67.9 completion percentage in nine games for the New Orleans Saints, including five starts when Drew Brees was out with a thumb injury.