Teddy Bridgewater Trade Rumors: 49ers Called Panthers amid Jimmy Garoppolo Buzz

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 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)
Brian Blanco/Associated Press

The San Francisco 49ers are reportedly among the teams that have called the Carolina Panthers regarding a trade for Teddy Bridgewater, according to Joseph Person of The Athletic.

There has been speculation the 49ers are hoping to upgrade from Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason, although that trade with the Panthers would only add a reliable backup to the oft-injured starter.

San Francisco general manager John Lynch recently said his team needs a better No. 2 behind Garoppolo.

"When (Garoppolo's) healthy, he's played at a high level," he told The Eye Test for Two podcast, via Matt Barrows of The Athletic. "But we probably have to add someone. We probably need to improve ourselves, so if he’s not there, we're all right—we can win games."

Garoppolo led the 49ers to the Super Bowl after an impressive 2019 season, totaling 3,978 passing yards with 27 touchdowns and a 102.0 passer rating. The problem is that was the only season he appeared in more than six games since being drafted in 2014.

The 29-year-old notably missed most of 2018 because of a torn ACL, while an ankle injury limited him to just six games in 2020.

Barrows reported the 49ers did have interest in Matthew Stafford before he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams, but the team appears willing to stick with Garoppolo as long as there is a reliable option behind him on the depth chart.

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Bridgewater was a starter for a third season last year, although he was up and down as a passer during his 15 games. The 28-year-old completed 69.1 percent of his attempts but had only 15 passing touchdowns and 11 interceptions with a 92.1 passer rating.

Person reiterated the Panthers are looking to replace the quarterback this offseason, although moving Bridgewater would likely be an important first step. Per Spotrac, the veteran has a $22.95 million cap hit for 2021, leaving $10 million in dead cap if he is traded by June 1.

Even with taking on only Bridgewater's $17 million base salary, this would represent an expensive backup for San Francisco. On the other hand, it would help solidify a key position for a team with high expectations in 2021.