Rhule said, per Joseph Person of The Athletic:
"Teddy's a tremendous professional and Teddy's a tremendous person. I think he's controlling what he can control, and he's having a great offseason, I'm sure. I can't wait to get him back here. And I think he's determined to play his best football next year. As far as where he stands with us, he's our quarterback and nothing's changed since the end of the offseason."
Still, Person suggested "don't read too much into Rhule's comments" because Carolina is still interested in trading for Deshaun Watson and will look into the top quarterbacks available in the 2021 NFL draft.
Person also noted Rhule made similar comments about Cam Newton last offseason, but the Panthers did not bring him back.
Watson isn't the only notable quarterback Carolina has targeted this offseason, as Person reported general manager Scott Fitterer included Bridgewater in a trade offer to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford.
Detroit ultimately traded Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for a package that included Jared Goff.
"He's a total pro," Fitterer said of Bridgewater. "He's been through a lot in his career. He's been through injuries. He's been the backup. He's been the starter. He's a guy that handles it all with total class. We had a good conversation, an honest conversation. We were just very up front about what was going on."
Bridgewater has also played for the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints throughout his career and set individual highs nearly across the board in his first season in Carolina.
He completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,733 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while adding 279 yards and five scores on the ground. While the team went just 5-11 in 2020 while having the services of All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey for only three games, Carolina at least knows it has a serviceable option in the Louisville product should it strike out on Watson or others this offseason.
Rhule's comments seem to indicate he knows that as well.