Primarily, we’re uncertain about the future of 2020 starter Teddy Bridgewater after he struggled in his first season with Carolina. By virtue of the Panthers already deciding to pick up the $23.6 million option on Darnold’s contract for the 2022 campaign, there’s really no room for Bridgewater in Carolina.
First-year Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer pretty much made that clear after the Darnold trade became official Monday afternoon.
“We’re going to find the right place him, whether it’s here or someplace else,” Fitterer told reporters.
At issue here is the struggles we saw from Bridgewater a season ago and the fact that he’s playing under a three-year, $63 million contract. He’s set to count $22.9 million against the cap in 2021. That’s not a great contract for someone who threw 15 touchdowns against a mere 11 interceptions last season.
Despite this, there’s going to be some interest in Bridgewater when it comes to the trade market between now and the 2021 NFL Draft later in April. Here’s a look at three ideal trade scenarios.
Teddy Bridgewater trade to the Denver Broncos
There’s an obvious connection here. New Broncos general manager George Paton was a member of the Vikings’ front office when they selected Bridgewater in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Bridgewater ultimately earned a Pro Bowl trip with Minnesota as a sophomore before suffering the infamous leg injury the following summer.
It’s also important to note that the Broncos are looking to find a replacement or training camp competition for young quarterback Drew Lock. He tied for the league lead in interceptions with 15 a season ago and has not taken that next step many expected. Making a move for Bridgewater would also come cheaper than a trade up in the 2021 NFL Draft. Denver is currently slated to select ninth overall.
Teddy Bridgewater trade to the San Francisco 49ers
This was bandied about earlier in the offseason. Then, the idea was for San Francisco to bring Bridgewater in to compete with Jimmy Garoppolo. After the 49ers acquired the third pick in this month’s NFL Draft, that’s no longer the case. If someone like Bridgewater were brought in, it would mean a separate Garoppolo trade. He’d then serve as a stopgap until an unnamed rookie is ready to start.
In fact, this could make a lot of sense. Given what Carolina gave up for Sam Darnold, the 49ers’ asking price of a first-round pick for Garoppolo doesn’t seem to be too unrealistic anymore. If San Francisco can net something similar from, say the New England Patriots, it will have to consider this. In turn, Bridgewater restructures his contract to lower his 2021 cap number while being almost guaranteed to start Week 1.
Teddy Bridgewater trade to the Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson. That’s the issue for these Texans right now. They have absolutely no idea if the reigning NFL passing champion will be available this coming season after troubling allegations of sexual assault. Heck, the Texans could be forced to trade the disgruntled Watson should he be cleared from these allegations.
What does this all mean? Teddy Bridgewater could be a real option for Houston. He’s likely an upgrade over the recently-signed Tyrod Taylor. The quarterback wouldn’t cost much in a trade, either. That’s important for the Texans’ brass given that they don’t have a pick in either of the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.