Teddy Bridgewater

Poll: Who Will Be Broncos’ Primary QB Starter In 2021?

One of the key points in this year’s draft came at No. 9, when the Broncos — who did extensive work on quarterbacks coming in — passed on Justin Fields and Mac Jones to select Patrick Surtain II. Denver passing on potential long-term starters transpired shortly after new Denver GM George Paton acquired Teddy Bridgewater from the Panthers.

With the Broncos choosing Surtain, Bridgewater and Drew Lock reside as their quarterbacks. They split reps down the middle this offseason and will continue this competition during training camp, when chapter six in the franchise’s post-Super Bowl 50 quarterback saga commences in earnest.

The Broncos have started an NFL-most 10 players at quarterback — counting Phillip Lindsay‘s wildcat snap in the COVID-19-created Kendall Hinton game last season — since Peyton Manning‘s March 2016 retirement. Denver has tried free agency (Case Keenum, the second Brock Osweiler acquisition), the trade market (Joe Flacco, Bridgewater) and the draft (Lock, Paxton Lynch) to fill this spot. The Broncos’ most successful post-Manning season — 2016, when the team went 9-7 — came with 2015 seventh-rounder Trevor Siemian at the controls.

Now on his fifth team, Bridgewater is still just 28 and has a history with Paton. The Vikings drafted the Louisville alum in the 2014 first round, when Paton was working as GM Rick Spielman‘s top lieutenant. The former Jets (briefly), Saints and Panthers passer has developed a reputation as a risk-averse passer, and Carolina was eager to jettison him after authorizing a three-year, $63MM deal in 2020. The trade agreement knocked Bridgewater’s 2021 cap hit down to just $4.4MM and made him a 2022 free agent. But Bridgewater makes sense for a team with high-end defensive capabilities, which a healthy Broncos iteration possesses.

Bridgewater finished 17th in QBR last season; Lock ranked 29th. The 2019 second-round pick was often erratic during his second NFL season, tying for the NFL INT lead (15) despite missing three games. Lock, however, was thrust into an unusual spot in 2020 — learning a new offense in a virtual offseason — and lacked top receiver Courtland Sutton for most of the season. But Lock’s grace period is over, with longtime GM John Elway ceding the reins to Paton.

The elephant in this room: will the Broncos’ interest in Aaron Rodgers be relevant soon? The Broncos have lapped the field in Rodgers rumors, with the Raiders — another team Rodgers is open to joiningcomfortable with Derek Carr for the time being. Depending on which skill-position players would be left in Denver after a trade, Rodgers would be equipped with a host of young weapons and a defense positioned to be one of the league’s best.

Even as some around the league wonder if the Packers are bracing for the reigning MVP’s exit, they are holding firm and possess leverage. Despite a return that could feature two or three first-round picks and one or more established young starters, Green Bay is understandably clinging to hopes this situation can be salvaged. The Bengals traded disgruntled QB Carson Palmer in October 2011, after the incumbent had staged a retirement in an effort to leave Cincinnati, and Palmer made nine starts for the Raiders that year. The Broncos likely would be open to a Rodgers in-season arrival, but ideally for them, the Packers begin trade discussions before the season.

Denver passing on Fields also leaves the door open, albeit narrowly, for Deshaun Watson. Twelve years younger than Rodgers, at 25, Watson is believed to be interested in being traded to the Broncos. The team had Watson on its radar as well. Kareem Jackson, conflict of interest notwithstanding, said his former Texans teammate has Denver atop his destination list. The Broncos are believed to prefer Rodgers to Watson, with the latter’s off-field issues undoubtedly factoring into this equation. Watson faces an uncertain future, with the Commissioner’s Exempt List and/or a suspension potentially looming. But if clarity emerges here before the trade deadline, the Broncos — assuming they do not acquire Rodgers — may be back in play for the three-time Pro Bowler.

Will the Broncos end up swinging a trade this year, or will 2022 be the window for such a transaction? Can Bridgewater or Lock seize the job and halt Rodgers and Watson rumors for good? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this situation in the comments section.

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Teddy Bridgewater Discusses Broncos QB Competition

The Broncos may have made a trade for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but that doesn’t mean the veteran is going to run away with the starting gig. Rather, he’ll have to compete with 2020 starter Drew Lock, with head coach Vic Fangio recently saying that the two signal-callers will split reps during OTAs and training camp.

[RELATED: Broncos To Split QB Reps 50-50 Between Lock, Bridgewater]

While Bridgewater has the experience on his side, he’s not taking anything for granted as he competes with Lock for the top spot on the depth chart. Rather, the 28-year-old said he’s always had the mindset of having to compete for his job.

“Every day I wake up, I consider myself competing for my job,” Bridgewater told the team’s website. “I think that’s the mindset of everyone who plays this game. Whether I was penciled in as being the starter or if I had to compete, my mindset is this is a competition. … In this league, so much happens.

“Of course, that’s my mindset [to start], but at the same time, I have to take it one day at a time and continue to be the best teammate I can be today and let tomorrow take care of itself.”

Lock only has 18 career starts to his credit, but it’s been a mixed bag when he’s under center. In 13 games last season, the Missouri product threw 16 TD passes against a league-worst 15 picks, leading to a poor 75.4 quarterback rating. Bridgewater was a a little better in his lone season in Carolina, but his 2020 campaign can fairly be characterized as disappointing as well, especially when measured against the three-year, $63MM contract he signed with the Panthers last offseason. Bridgewater ultimately finished the campaign having completed 69.1-percent of his passes for 3,733 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.

For what it’s worth, Bridgewater doesn’t have much catching up to do when it comes to scheme, as the quarterback worked with Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur when the two were in Minnesota.

“It’s helped a lot,” Bridgewater said. “There is some carryover from my days in Minnesota, but at the same time, a lot has changed. I’ve been in a couple of different systems. I see players that I’m familiar with and it’s been a smooth transition with the install.”

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This Date In Transactions History: 2014 NFL Draft

The first-round of the 2014 NFL Draft took place seven years ago today. While there was plenty of hype heading into the first day of the draft, surely no one expected the first round to produce so many accomplished players. Among the 32 individuals who heard their name called on May 8, 2014, 17 of those players eventually earned Pro Bowl nods. That’s not shabby.

From a transactions standpoint, there were five trades completed on that Thursday evening, with the Browns and Vikings starring in a handful of the deals. While there were whispers that the first-overall pick could get traded from Houston, the Texans ultimately kept the selection and drafted Jadeveon Clowney at No. 1.

The first trade of the evening was between the Browns and Bills. Cleveland wanted to move back to select a cornerback, so they sent No. 4 to Buffalo for No. 9, a future first, and a future fourth. The Bills ended up selecting wideout Sammy Watkins. As the first round continued to progress, the Browns apparently didn’t feel comfortable staying at No. 9. So, they packaged that selection and a future fifth-round pick to the Vikings for the No. 8 pick, and they proceeded to select cornerback Justin Gilbert. The Vikings selected linebacker Anthony Barr with their new selection.

The Saints later got into the action, acquiring the No. 20 pick from the Cardinals to select receiver Brandin Cooks. New Orleans sent Arizona No. 27 and No. 91, with the Cards selecting safety Deone Bucannon with that first-round selection.

The Browns made another trade later in the night, this time in pursuit of a quarterback. Cleveland traded No. 26 and No. 83 to Philly in exchange for No.22…and the Browns ultimately selected quarterback Johnny Manziel. Really, the writing was on the wall with that selection; the team had previously drafted two other QB busts (Brandon Weeden, Brady Quinn) at that same spot in the draft.

The last trade of the evening once again featured the Vikings. Minnesota acquired the No. 32 pick from the Seahawks for picks No. 40 and No. 108. The Vikings used their new selection on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

It was surely an entertaining evening, with Cleveland serving as the star of the show. However, fast forward to today, and Browns fans are surely still shaking their head at how everything unfolded.

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Broncos To Split QB Reps 50-50 Between Lock, Bridgewater

As of now, the Broncos have not traded for Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers. Unless and until Rodgers is dealt to Denver, 2019 second-round pick Drew Lock and new trade acquisition Teddy Bridgewater will engage in an open competition for the team’s starting QB job.

Head coach Vic Fangio confirmed as much in an interview with Mike Klis of 9News.com. Although Fangio conceded he wasn’t sure which of Lock or Bridgewater would get the first set of reps in OTAs or training camp, he said, “it will be something that at the end of the day, maybe not at the end of every day, but over the course of OTAs and training camp, it’ll be 50-50.”

Lock only has 18 career starts to his credit, but he is already being mentioned as one of a number of failed QBs that led to John Elway‘s loss of decision-making power. In 13 games last season, the Missouri product threw 16 TD passes against a league-worst 15 picks, leading to a poor 75.4 quarterback rating.

Bridgewater was a a little better in his lone season in Carolina, but his 2020 campaign can fairly be characterized as disappointing as well, especially when measured against the three-year, $63MM contract he signed with the Panthers last offseason. He offers the experience and accuracy that Lock does not have at this point, though Lock’s ceiling is higher.

Fangio, predictably, had good things to say about both passers. “I think Drew’s had a helluva offseason up to this point, albeit we haven’t been on the field,” he said. “I think Drew is going to look good here in the offseason when we do hit the field. And I’ve been an admirer of Teddy Bridgewater for many years. … He’s a good football player. A good quarterback. He’s got deceptive scramble ability. He’s got really good pocket feel. He’s got great leadership abilities. I think he’s an accurate passer and processes very well so we’re happy.”

Regardless of which player wins the job, the Broncos currently have the least desirable QB situation in the AFC West. But new GM George Paton passed on the opportunity to draft a quarterback like Ohio State’s Justin Fields, so he obviously feels good enough about where things stand right now. However, the rest of Denver’s roster looks pretty strong, and the team could be one elite QB away from making serious noise in the AFC. As such, a Rodgers pursuit could still be in the cards.

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Broncos Restructure Teddy Bridgewater’s Deal

In order to facilitate his trade to the Broncos, Teddy Bridgewater agreed to restructure his contract (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9News). Now, Bridgewater has just one year remaining on his deal, rather than two.

By truncating the three-year, $63MM deal he signed last year, Bridgewater has given the Broncos extra flexibility beyond 2021. Meanwhile, the Broncos also got the Panthers to pick up $7MM of his $10MM guarantee. Between the remaining $3MM and Bridgewater’s forthcoming $1.5MM salary, they’ll be paying him just $4.5MM — a reasonable price for a backup quarterback who may wind up supplanting Drew Lock as the starter. As Klis notes, it’s a fraction of what Andy Dalton got ($10.5MM) from the Bears earlier this year.

Bridgewater struggled in his first year with the Panthers, but he was one of the league’s hottest free agents just ~14 months ago. In 2019, Bridgewater went 5-0 as the Saints’ starter, filling in for Brees while he was sidelined. And, of course, he was one of the NFL’s brightest young stars before his devastating injury in Minnesota.

The Louisville alum started 28 games for the Vikings from 2014-15, averaging 3,075 yards, 14 touchdowns, and ten interceptions per season. Among the 30 QBs who attempted at least 500 passes in those two seasons, Bridgewater ranked 22nd in passer rating, 25th in adjusted net yards per attempt, and 29th in touchdown percentage.

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Panthers Trade Teddy Bridgewater To Broncos

Teddy Bridgewater is going to the Broncos. The Panthers have agreed to send the quarterback to Denver in exchange for a sixth-round pick, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets

As a part of the deal, the Panthers will pay out $7MM of Bridgewater’s salary for the coming year. The Broncos will only take on a fraction of his pay, at $3MM. With the Panthers eating the lion’s share of what’s owed to Bridgewater, the Broncos remain open to quarterbacks in the first-round of Thursday’s draft, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears.

Bridgwater represents new competition for Drew Lock, who was already facing the possibility of competing with rookie QB selected with the No. 9 pick. Last year, Lock’s QBR put him near the bottom of the league. In turn, the Broncos tried to swing a deal for Matthew Stafford, but the Rams beat him to the punch. The Broncos didn’t see Carson Wentz or Sam Darnold as worthwhile upgrades, but Lock’s seat has stayed hot throughout the offseason.

Broncos GM George Paton had an up close look at Bridgewater during his salad days with the Vikings. Paton was with the team when they selected the Louisville product in the first round of the 2014 draft. That familiarity likely put Bridgewater ahead of Gardner MinshewJimmy Garoppolo, and other available passers on their wish list.

Bridgewater has two seasons left on the three-year, $63MM deal he inked with Carolina. The 28-year-old (29 in November) completed 69% of his passes in 2020 with just 15 touchdown throws. While the Panthers chose Darnold’s upside over another year with the veteran, he still profiles as a solid alternative to Lock.

The Panthers now own the No. 191 overall pick, but the real upside comes in the form of financial relief. Now, GM Scott Fitterer has a few more dollars to work with, plus a substantially lighter cap for 2022. Meanwhile, Darnold may have a little more confidence moving forward as he looks to reboot his career in the NFC South.

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Poll: How Will Broncos Address QB Need?

The only two starting quarterbacks to retire after winning Super Bowls played for the same franchise. While the Broncos made the playoffs multiple times in the five years following John Elway‘s retirement — with the likes of Brian Griese and Jake Plummer operating as the team’s primary starters — they have hovered off the contention radar for most of their post-Peyton Manning stretch. No team has started more quarterbacks than Denver’s 10 (counting the Kendall Hinton game) since 2016.

This stretch has placed the Broncos back on the quarterback radar. Although their last foray into the first-round market careened off course quickly (Paxton Lynch in 2016), the Broncos’ three subsequent QB investments — Case Keenum, Joe Flacco and Drew Lock — largely struggled. Will this run of futility at the NFL’s premier position force the Broncos to acquire one of this year’s top QB prospects?

New GM George Paton has said multiple times this offseason the Broncos will acquire a quarterback to push Lock, but it is not certain that will be a rookie. Denver brass, however, did extensive work on this year’s top passer crop. Paton was at Justin Fields and Trey Lance‘s initial pro days, while offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur trekked to the second workouts held by the Ohio State and North Dakota State QBs. Other teams have viewed Denver as a stealth quarterback seeker as well.

Only two of the draft’s top five passing prospects will be available to teams picking after No. 3, with the 49ers moving up for a quarterback. Considering the needs of some teams picking outside the top 10 — the Patriots, Washington and Bears have been linked to trade-up maneuvers — and the not-impossible prospect of the Lions (No. 7) or Panthers (No. 8) jumping into the fray, it is possible the Broncos will be left out if they stand pat at No. 9. They are believed to have inquired about trading up, though Paton denied this. The Falcons (No. 4), Dolphins (No. 6), Lions and Panthers are all open to trades, creating opportunities for the Broncos and teams eager to trade in front of them.

Given the Broncos’ above-average defense and bevy of skill-position weapons, going into another season with Lock (29th in 2020 QBR) could lower the team’s ceiling — in a hot-seat year for Vic Fangio. But Fangio’s status could also push the team to trade for a veteran instead of hoping this year’s fourth- or fifth-best QB prospect can make an impact right away. Although the Broncos sat out the free agent market and passed on trades for Carson Wentz and Sam Darnold — after falling short for Matthew Stafford — veteran arms remain available.

Paton was with the Vikings when they drafted Teddy Bridgewater in the 2014 first round; Carolina has since given Bridgewater permission to seek a trade. Given Paton’s history with the 28-year-old QB, it would make sense if the Broncos were one of the teams interestedGardner Minshew figures to be available — even though Urban Meyer denied it. The 49ers are holding out for a big offer to part with now-lame-duck starter Jimmy Garoppolo.

Lock has not been blessed with great circumstances, despite Denver drafting Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler in the first and second rounds last year. The pandemic nixed the young passer’s first offseason with Shurmur, and No. 1 receiver Courtland Sutton went down in Week 2 last year. But the 2022 quarterback class, as of now, has received far less hype than the past two drafts’ QB crops generated. The Broncos not making a move for Fields, Lance or Mac Jones next week could limit their options going forward.

How do you think the Broncos will play this? Will they prioritize acquiring another quarterback by trading up or hope one falls to No. 9? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this situation in the comments section.

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Panthers Considered Trading Up For QB

Connected to Deshaun Watson and Matthew Stafford this offseason, the Panthers moved to Sam Darnold. They sent three draft choices (two in 2022) for the former Jets top-five draftee, who is on track to replace Teddy Bridgewater next season.

But the Panthers, whose quest to land a franchise quarterback was no secret this offseason, also considered making the kind of move the 49ers did. Carolina held internal discussions about vaulting up the draft board for a quarterback, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. However, the franchise that entered the 2020 offseason in rebuilding mode deemed the price to do so too extreme for its present situation.

[RELATED: Panthers Give Bridgewater Permission To Seek Trade]

It cost the 49ers their No. 12 pick, a 2021 third-rounder and 2022 and 2023 firsts to climb up nine spots to No. 3. The Panthers, who resumed Darnold talks with the Jets in Columbus while there for Justin Fields‘ first pro day, do not boast the roster talent the 49ers do at this point. Dealing away two future first-rounders for this draft’s second- or third-best quarterback, though the Jets are not believed to have received a firm offer for No. 2, would cost the Panthers chances at adding long-term starters. That said, Carolina did offer its No. 8 pick, Bridgewater and a fifth-rounder for Stafford in January.

With legal issues ensnaring Watson, his top would-be suitor will have Darnold under contract for two more seasons — on a rookie salary in 2021 and an fifth-year option price ($18.9MM) in 2022 — unless the sides agree to an extension. Darnold’s presence should not take the Panthers out of the running for Watson down the road, and Breer notes they should be expected to draft a quarterback at No. 8 — should one they like fall that far. Mac Jones and, to a lesser degree, Trey Lance have been the passers connected to the 49ers at 3. Lance and Fields seemingly have the best chance of falling to the eighth spot.

The Panthers did not want to part with their second- or third-round picks in this year’s draft for Darnold, Breer notes, so they and the Jets settled on a package that included a 2022 second-rounder as the centerpiece. The Panthers were offering their 2021 fifth-rounder, the same one they dangled as a Stafford throw-in, but swapped that out for a 2022 fourth to sweeten their offer to the Jets. The sixth-rounder Carolina gave up this year was a compensatory pick, the lowest of the team’s three 2021 sixths.

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PFR Poll: Which QB Will Be Traded Next?

The NFL’s quarterback carousel continued earlier this week when the Jets finally traded former third-overall pick Sam Darnold to the Panthers. The 23-year-old became the fifth quarterback to switch teams via trade this offseason:

While teams have already shifted focus from veteran acquisitions to the draft, that doesn’t mean we won’t see another QB trade. Sure, it takes two to tango, and a number of teams already have already solidified their quarterback situation (or they will in the upcoming draft). Still, teams like the Patriots, Broncos, Bears, Saints, and Washington could be in the market for a signal-caller depending on what happens with the draft.

So who could be available? We know one name is definitively on the block: Teddy Bridgewater. Following the Panthers’ acquisition of Darnold, the front ofice gave the 2020 starter permission to seek a trade. It seems like a trade is inevitable, with reports indicating that multiple teams have reached out to Carolina about the veteran. Many of these teams are apparently eyeing Bridgewater as a backup, which could complicate a trade if the veteran is hunting for a suitor who will let hm start. Further, interested teams would also like to rework Bridgewater’s contract, adding another hurdle to negotiations.

It was widely assumed that Jimmy Garoppolo would be on the trade block after the 49ers made a blockbuster trade for the No. 3 pick. However, the organization appears to be playing hard ball. After declaring that the veteran would be sticking around San Francisco for the 2021 season, the 49ers are reportedly seeking a first-rounder for Jimmy G. This could obviously just be leveraging via the media, and the 49ers will be hard pressed to find a team that will give up that type of draft capital and inherit Garoppolo’s hefty deal. Either way, the rumors will surely persist, especially if Garoppolo’s former team, the Patriots, roll into the regular season with Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham as their top quarterbacks.

What about Gardner Minshew? The former sixth-rounder took a step back from a team-record perspective in 2020, but he still proved to be a capable game manager, connecting on 66.1-percent of his passes and tossing 16 touchdowns vs. only five interceptions. The Jaguars will presumably take Trevor Lawrence will the first-overall pick in the upcoming draft, relegating Minshew to a backup role. Minshew has a low salary and plenty of upside, so Jacksonville won’t just give him away. However, if a team is willing to pony up for the mustached quarterback, the Jaguars will probably listen. For what it’s worth, we heard back in March that the Jaguars weren’t shopping Minshew “at this point” in time.

Those three quarterbacks appear to be the most realistic trade targets, but there are plenty of additional quarterbacks who have lingered in trade rumors. Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson were the biggest names thrown around this offseason, but it’s unlikely either player is dealt any time soon (Wilson because he’s a franchise quarterback and the Seahawks aren’t dumb, Watson because of the ongoing sexual misconduct allegations against him (and the Texans prior refusal to trade him despite demands)). Some less sexy names include Nick Foles, who could be displaced in Chicago after the Bears signed Andy Dalton. Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, and Drew Lock have also been tossed around, but it’s unlikely any of those players switch teams.

So that leads to our question: who will be the next quarterback to be traded? Let us know if we forgot anyone in the comments.

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Panthers Give Teddy Bridgewater Permission Seek Trade; Multiple Teams Interested

April 7: Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that “multiple teams” are interested in trading for Bridgewater (video link). Those clubs are looking at Bridgewater as a top-flight backup and mentor for a younger passer already on (or soon to be on) the roster. Bridgewater, of course, will need to rework his contract to facilitate a deal, and Rapoport — who expects a trade to happen — says the 28-year-old passer could reduce his 2021 pay to a fully-guaranteed $10MM.

April 6: After trading for Sam Darnold, the Panthers have granted Teddy Bridgewater permission to talk with other teams and potentially facilitate a trade (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The Panthers remain open to keeping the veteran, but they’ll allow him the chance to find a better opportunity elsewhere.

[RELATED: Panthers Trade For Jets’ Sam Darnold]

Bridgewater has two years to go on the three-year, $63MM deal he inked with Carolina just last year. The 28-year-old (29 in November) completed 69% of his passes last year with just 15 touchdown passes. The Panthers have chosen Darnold’s upside over another year with the one-time Vikings star, but he still profiles as a solid stopgap starter or a quality backup for other teams.

It would make little sense for the Panthers to keep Bridgewater — especially at his current price tag. He’s set to earn base salaries of $17MM and $20MM while Darnold is tied to the club through 2022 on his $18.9MM fifth-year option.

The Broncos are one club that could make sense for Bridgewater, especially given GM George Paton’s history with the QB. It’s also possible that the Saints could explore a reunion, adding to the Jameis WinstonTaysom Hill competition.

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