The NFL once again is living in the aftermath of yet another quarterback trade of a young former first round draft pick.
Jets trade QB Sam Darnold to Panthers in exchange for a 2021 sixth round pick, 2022 second round pick and 2022 fourth round pick. pic.twitter.com/TcKGWesy04
— NFL (@NFL) April 5, 2021
This is a great move for the 23-year-old Darnold.
He is acquainted with Carolina Coach Matt Rhule from when Rhule interviewed for the Jets head coaching job in 2019.
There are reports that Darnold really impressed Rhule at that time.
While Darnold is the beneficiary of a much needed change of scenery, coaching, and organization, what does this mean for the current Carolina Panthers quarterback on the roster: Teddy Bridgewater?
Report: Bridgewater Can Talk With Other Teams
This is not good news for Bridgewater though the Panthers are saying they are “open to Bridgewater returning.”
It is not clear what that means.
The Panthers are not saying that Bridgewater and Darnold can compete for the job.
They are offering Bridgewater an out when the ink is barely dry on the Darnold deal.
Following the trade for Sam Darnold, the #Panthers spoke with QB Teddy Bridgewater and allowed him the opportunity to talk with teams to potentially facilitate a trade, sources say. Carolina is open to Bridgewater returning, but will give him a chance to have a say in his future.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 6, 2021
Judging by Panthers GM Scott Fitterer’s comment yesterday following the Darnold trade, it sounds like Bridgewater’s days as a Carolina Panther are history.
Scott Fitterer on Teddy Bridgewater: "We're going to find the right place him, whether it's here or someplace else."
Spoiler alert: It will be someplace else.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) April 5, 2021
In the highly unlikely event Bridgewater stays, the Panthers will want to restructure Bridgewater’s contract.
Bridgewater is entering the second year of a three-year $63 million contract; that is big money tied up in a backup quarterback.
Teddy Bridgewater in 2020
Bridgewater started in 15 games; he had not seen that much action since his 2015 Pro Bowl season with the Minnesota Vikings.
In 2020, the Panthers went 5-11; Bridgewater threw for 3,733 yards.
He had 15 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.
Bridgewater added 279 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns.
He suffered a knee injury in Week 10 against Tampa Bay, and his productivity was not the same after it.
In fact, Coach Rhule benched him in Week 17 because of his performance.
In Week 17, Rhule spoke about Bridgewater.
“Ever since he got hurt in the second half of the Tampa Bay game, Teddy hasn’t played his best football. My encouragement to him has been, ‘Hey, you’ve got to have a great offseason.'”
Matt Rhule: “Ever since he got hurt in the second half of the Tampa Bay game, Teddy hasn’t played his best football. … My encouragement to him has been, ‘Hey, you’ve got to have a great offseason.’”
— Bill Voth (@PanthersBill) January 4, 2021
Could The Bears Be Interested In Bridgewater?
For all the quarterback foibles the Bears have committed in this offseason, could they pursue Teddy Bridgewater in an effort to “fix” their problems?
— Anthony Shiffra (@AnthonyShiffra) April 5, 2021
Naturally, the Chicago fanbase is divided on this idea.
The Bears are not the only team in need of a quarterback.
Feels like Washington should be calling about Teddy Bridgewater
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 5, 2021
Bridgewater is only 28 years old.
Despite some hits and misses in his 2020 performance, it seems like he will find a new landing spot, the question remains where that will be.