Teddy Bridgewater wants $25 million annually, unlikely to get it from Denver Broncos

Vincent Frank

Even with his Denver Broncos at 7-6 on the season an in playoff contention, Teddy Bridgewater has been nothing more than an average quarterback this year.

Denver acquired the former Pro Bowler to be a stopgap option while it was still kicking the tires on the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson on the trade block.

Said trade with the Carolina Panthers included Bridgewater signing a restructured one-year, $4.4 million contract. Talk about getting a starter-caliber quarterback on the cheap.

That might not be the case once the 2021 season comes to an end and Teddy hits free agency. According to Broncos insider Benjamin Allbright, Bridgewater is expected to demand $25 million annually on a long-term deal once NFL free agency opens. The quarterback also doesn’t expect Denver to be willing to dole out that type of cash.

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  • Teddy Bridgewater stats: 67.6% completion, 2,954 yards, 18 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 96.5 rating

To be fair, these are the best numbers Bridgewater has put up since he suffered a devastating lower-body injury during training camp back in 2016.

A former first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings back in 2014, the Louisville product jumped on to the scene as a sophomore en route to leading his original team to an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance. This is just his second season since as a full-time starter.

Teddy Bridgewater’s free-agent value

teddy bridgewater contract
Dec 12, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) passes the ball in the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

At $25 million annually, Bridgewater’s demands would make him the 14th highest-paid quarterback in the NFL — right there with Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders. That seems to be fair.

However, the question becomes market. Bridgewater will join the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, Cam Newton and Jameis Winston as quarterbacks with extensive starting experience set to hit free agency.

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The issue here is what promises to be a robust trade market at this position. Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers could all very well be moved. They are among the top signal callers in the NFL. Meanwhile, there’s a darn good chance the aforementioned Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo will also land on the trade block. It’s a supply and demand thing.

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Denver Broncos quarterback situation, sans Teddy Bridgewater

NFL: Denver Broncos Training Camp
Jul 28, 2021; Englewood, CO, United States; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) talks with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) during training camp at UCHealth Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It’s safe to assume newish Broncos general manager George Paton did not trade for Bridgewater over the off-season for him to be a long-term option.

Denver has been linked to Rodgers and Watson in trade talks over the past several months. There also seems to be a logical fit surrounding Garoppolo.

With the Broncos closer to contention than bottom-feeding status in the AFC West, there’s no expectation of a rebuild in the Mile High City. Denver has the skill-position talent and defense to be considered contenders. It just needs a viable quarterback. Whether that’s Bridgewater in 2022 and moving forward will depend on both his performance as the 2021 season draws to a conclusion and his market during NFL free agency.

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