Teddy Bridgewater Reportedly Traded from Panthers to Broncos for 6th-Round Pick

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2021

Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater passes against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Brian Blanco/Associated Press

The Carolina Panthers reportedly have agreed to trade quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a sixth-round pick.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported Carolina will receive the 191st overall selection in the deal. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the Panthers will pay $7 million of Bridgewater's salary, while the Broncos will take on $3 million. 

NFL reporter Josina Anderson reported Denver will adjust Bridgewater's contract to allow him to hit free agency after the 2021 season.

Bridgewater spent the 2020 season in Carolina after signing as a free agent. He threw for 3,733 yards and 15 touchdowns against 11 interceptions, providing steady but ultimately unspectacular play despite a solid supporting cast.

The writing on the wall for Bridgewater's tenure came when the team traded three draft picks for Sam Darnold in April. While Darnold has struggled during his three NFL seasons, the 23-year-old provides upside that is not quite there with Bridgewater.

The Louisville product was a starter his first two NFL seasons in Minnesota before suffering a catastrophic knee injury in 2016 that cost him nearly two full years. He spent two seasons as a backup under Drew Brees, looking solid in relief during the 2019 campaign, before reaching a three-year, $63 million deal with the Panthers last offseason.

Carolina spent much of the 2021 offseason focused on landing a top-tier quarterback. Darnold has not shown much ability to be such a high-level performer, but coach Matt Rhule is apparently more willing to take a risk on molding a younger player than staying with Bridgwater's steady hand.

Becoming a veteran journeyman who spot starts or acts as a bridge to a younger player may be Bridgwater's NFL destiny. His lack of downfield arm strength is limiting to an offense, and while he's a solid enough rusher, he doesn't bring much dynamism to the field.

The Broncos' trade for Bridgwater signals the likely end of the Drew Lock era. Denver has shuffled through quarterbacks since Peyton Manning's retirement, unable to find even league-average play. Bridgwater's competence alone will be an upgrade.