The Carolina Panthers eyed upgrades under center (Deshaun Watson, Matthew Stafford), and ultimately traded for Sam Darnold. So the writing has been on the wall for Teddy Bridgewater all offseason. On Wednesday, the day before the draft, he’s on the move. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero has reported Bridgewater is headed to the Denver Broncos for a sixth-round pick.
Bridgewater started 15 games for the Panthers last season. He threw for 3,733 passing yards, with 15 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a 69.1 percent completion rate. Divided by a knee injury that cost him Week 11, Bridgewater’s play fell off late in the season. And it’s not as if he was great over his first 10 games.
Teddy Bridgewater-First 10 games, 2020:
255.2 passing yards per game, 72.1 percent completion rate, 13 TD, 7 INT, 98.7 passer rating, 19 sacks taken
Teddy Bridgewater-Final 5 games, 2020:
236.2 passing yards per game, 62.96 percent completion rate, 2 TD, 4 INT, 78.8 passer rating, 12 sacks taken
The Panthers lost eight games by one score or less, with a chance for a drive to win or tie all eight times. So much for Bridgewater’s intangible “clutch gene” then.
Broncos general manager George Paton was in the Minnesota Vikings front office for many year, That included 2014, when they drafted Bridgewater. That tie made it easy to tie Denver to trading for Bridgewater. Now the move is done, and they only gave up a sixth-round pick. Carolina will pick up a chunk of what he’s owed this year, as part of a restructured contract.
Is Teddy Bridgewater going to start for the Broncos?
Bridgewater is coming to Denver to compete for the starting job with Drew Lock. So Paton’s words on that front have come true, even as plenty of good available veteran options went away. Lock needs to avoid injuries and be more consistent, but he still has a hint of upside. At this point, Bridgewater is what he is. He’s a mediocre quarterback, which might be a small overestimation.
Whoever starts under center for the Broncos will have good weapons around him. Courtland Sutton is coming back from a torn ACL. Second-year man Jerry Jeudy is a breakout candidate. Another second-year receiver, KJ Hamler, is an interesting player. Tight end Noah Fant has plenty of potential. Melvin Gordon is a capable running back.
A new GM automatically put Lock on notice as the Broncos’ starting quarterback. But Bridgewater is a low-bar option that was settled for, failing all else besides drafting a quarterback. If he wins the job, he may actively limit Denver’s offense. Anyone who’s optimistic about Denver’s offense this year should be rooting for Lock, warts and all, to win the competition with Bridgewater.