Teddy Bridgewater 'Honored' to Follow Cam Newton as Panthers' Franchise QB

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2020

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2019, file photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in New Orleans. Not surprisingly some of the biggest focus is at quarterback with Teddy Bridgewater tasked with replacing Newton in Carolina after the former No. 1 pick had a nine-year run as starter for the Panthers. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

Teddy Bridgewater doesn't think his tenure with the Carolina Panthers has to be a zero-sum game in terms of how it impacts the general perception around Cam Newton's nine years with the franchise.  

Bridgewater had to play the backup role for two seasons with the New Orleans Saints before signing his three-year, $63 million deal with Carolina. As a result, he sympathized with Newton, who settled on a one-year contract with the New England Patriots after going unsigned for much of the offseason.

ESPN's David Newton shared Bridgewater's comments:

"With Cam, it was one of those situations where I understand, as a player, you're a competitor, you want to get back out there and get an opportunity, that opportunity to show that you're still this elite guy. He's done some great things. He's obviously one of the best players to ever play for this franchise. Everyone around here respects him. They speak highly of him.

"I'm just honored to be following in the position that he left behind, to get the opportunity to resume my career."

Although their exact circumstances differed, both Bridgewater and Newton were cast aside by their old teams when it became clear the front office wanted to go in a different direction.

Bridgewater made his return to the field in December 2017 following his devastating knee injury. Three months later, Minnesota signed Kirk Cousins to a three-year, $84 million contract.

The Panthers released Newton in March after a trade failed to materialize. One day later, they announced the addition of Bridgewater.

Newton's health is a question mark as well. He had shoulder surgery in January 2019 and then foot surgery last December. Many wonder whether he can continue to be a dynamic runner after having logged 934 carries and absorbed 291 sacks in his career so far.

Bridgewater successfully rebuilt his value in New Orleans. He was particularly effective over a stretch of five starts when Drew Brees was unavailable, throwing for 1,205 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions as the Saints went 5-0.

Newton, 31, is four years older, but he should be in a position to cash out with a big deal down the road should his season with the Patriots prove similarly fruitful.