On a media conference call Monday afternoon, Panthers general manager Marty Hurney spoke about Bridgewater's abilities and how quickly he feels the quarterback can acclimate to life under first-year NFL head coach Matt Rhule.
In previewing the franchise's future, Hurney looked directly to the past.
"I think everybody you talk to, they talked about his leadership skills, and he's got familiarity with [offensive coordinator] Joe Brady's system since Joe was down there in New Orleans with him," Hurney said, per Bill Voth of the team's official site. "He's certainly a guy who's overcome adversity and has, really if you look at it, he's won everywhere he's been, so we thought he'd be a good fit for us."
There's no question Bridgewater is adept at handling adversity.
Just when it looked like he was about to establish himself as the cornerstone of the Minnesota Vikings offense in 2016, the 2014 first-round pick suffered a gruesome non-contact injury to his left leg that included a torn ACL, a dislocated knee and structural damage. After making it the Pro Bowl a season earlier, Bridgewater wouldn't complete another pass until 2018.
He proved he was worthy of his latest contract last season when he went 5-0 with a 9:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio while leading the New Orleans Saints as Drew Brees recovered from a thumb injury.
Hurney believed in Bridgewater enough to not just hand him a three-year, $63 million contract with $33 million guaranteed, but also to oust former franchise quarterback Cam Newton in the process.
"He's a very talented quarterback. I've always liked him," he said of Bridgewater. "He's got great feet in the pocket. I think he's got good vision, a quick release. He's got good accuracy."
In bringing over Brady, who was the New Orleans Saints offensive assistant for two years before spending last season helping LSU win a national title, Hurney is hoping they can quickly re-establish their relationship and get the most out of a quarterback who is still just 27 years old.
It's a gamble the general manager was willing to take. There were no half-measures this offseason. Newton, Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner are out. Rhule, Brady and Bridgewater are in.
If Bridgewater can live up to the expectations set forth, he'll be looking at a contract much larger than his current one the next time he becomes a free agent.