Teddy Bridgewater

QB Dwayne Haskins To Meet With Panthers

Dwayne Haskins will have his first visit since being unceremoniously cut by Washington last month. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the former first-round quarterback will meet with the Panthers on Monday. We had previously heard of Carolina’s interest, but there was no word on potential visits.

Rapoport describes the meeting as “a fact-finding mission for both sides.” As Joe Person of The Athletic observes on Twitter, the timing is a bit interesting for the Panthers, as the team is currently operating without a general manager. While Matt Rhule previously said he doesn’t want control over personnel decisions, Person believes the head coach may be pushing for this move. Rhule has known Haskins since the quarterback was in high school, and Haskins’ college coach, Ryan Day, previously coached alongside Rhule at Temple.

Further, the Panthers have some question marks at quarterback, so the organization may simply be doing their homework on low-risk acquisitions (Rapoport notes that teams would “likely only pay Haskins the minimum”). Teddy Bridgewater didn’t complete his final appearance of the 2020 season, and Rhule declared that the veteran would need to have a “tremendous offseason” (via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra) in order to definitively retain his gig.

Before getting cut, Haskins was averaging 6.3 yards per attempt with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 16 games and 13 starts for Washington. After getting waived, Haskins mutually parted ways with agent David Mulugheta, and he’s since caught on with Goal Line Football agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: AB, Bridgewater, Saints

Antonio Brown being accused of vandalizing a security camera has placed the Buccaneers in a bit of hot water, but Bruce Arians confirmed the team knew about this alleged incident before signing him. The second-year Bucs HC reiterated during an interview with NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (audio link) that Brown not being a model citizen will result in his release. “He’s been a model citizen,” Arians said Thursday, via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. “I think we’re beating a dead horse right now, so there’s been enough statements about it.” Arians said in March that Brown would not be a fit with the Bucs, but Tom Brady pushed for the team to make the move. Through two games with the Bucs, AB has 10 catches for 100 yards.

The NFL was not made aware of this incident before the Bucs signed Brown, who was not charged due to the homeowners association not pressing charges. The league, per Laine, is now looking into the matter, which could be determined as a violation of Brown’s probation. Although the NFL handed Brown an eight-game suspension, the league could move to levy another ban depending on the outcome of Britney Taylor’s civil suit. Taylor’s three-page affidavit alleges Brown raped her. The controversial wideout is again part of a multifront NFL investigation.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Teddy Bridgewater is now expected to join Christian McCaffrey in not suiting up for the Panthers‘ Week 11 game. Carolina’s QB1 has practiced on a limited basis this week, with Matt Rhule labeling him “extremely limited,” and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets the team is expected to require one of its backup passers to start against the Lions. Bridgewater suffered an MCL injury in the fourth quarter of the Panthers’ loss to the Buccaneers. XFL 2.0 standout P.J. Walker has replaced Bridgewater twice this season, but both he and 2019 third-round pick Will Grier have worked as the Panthers’ game-day backup. They have split reps in practice this week, and Rhule — via ESPN.com’s David Newton — declined to say who would start if Bridgewater cannot go.
  • If the 2021 salary cap comes in at that $175MM floor, the Saints are projected to be a whopping $95MM over that salary ceiling. While the Mickey Loomis-led operation annually finds a way to navigate cap issues, this would be new territory. This situation has flummoxed several execs around the league, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who adds the current NFL management council cap figure being used for projections ($198MM) is much higher than where the actual number is expected to land. Multiple GMs expect the cap to come in around $175MM, which would mark by far the biggest reduction in the cap’s 28-year history and create tremendous issues for the Saints and a few other teams.
  • Drew Brees is expected to be out at least two games, though the future Hall of Fame quarterback has sought additional opinions this week. He is believed to have cracked at least five ribs.

Injury Notes: Stafford, Bridgewater, Bears

Matthew Stafford is dealing with a hand injury, but there’s hope the ailment won’t sideline the veteran. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the Lions quarterback suffered a “partial tear in a ligament in the thumb on his throwing hand.”

The team will evaluate Stafford’s ability to throw the ball throughout the week, but it’s expected that Stafford will ultimately be in uniform on Sunday against the Panthers.

2019 aside, Stafford has been remarkably durable throughout his NFL career. Prior to his season-ending injury last season, Stafford had appeared in 136 consecutive regular season contests, the sixth-longest mark in NFL history. The 32-year-old has had a solid comeback season for the 4-5-0 Lions, completing 63.7-percent of his passes for 2,403 yards, 17 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.

If Stafford were to miss any time, the Lions would likely turn to backups Chase Daniel or David Blough.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the league…

  • Speaking of Lions/Panthers, Teddy Bridgewater‘s MCL sprain “is consider minor,” according to Pelissero (via Twitter). The Panthers quarterback is expected to practice on a limited basis at tomorrow’s practice, and as the reporter notes, head coach Matt Rhule had previously expressed optimism that Bridgewater will play against the Lions. Bridgewater suffered the injury during the fourth quarter of his team’s loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday.
  • Despite being carted off the field yesterday, Bears quarterback Nick Foles could be available following his team’s bye. While the veteran is dealing with both hip and glute injuries, coach Matt Nagy said Foles should be alright. “It wasn’t as bad as we once thought,” Nagy said (via Gene Chamberlain of the Associated Press). “He’ll be working through that here as we go, keeping an eye on that, kind of day to day.”
  • While Foles could play against the Packers in two weeks, Nagy wasn’t so confident that backup Mitch Trubisky will be in uniform. “I think there’s a possibility, but I don’t know that for sure,” Nagy said. “I think it’s going to be day by day. I don’t know if he knows that. So we’ll just keep an eye on that.” The former second-overall pick has seen only one snap since Week 3.

Latest On Panthers’ Teddy Bridgewater, Christian McCaffrey

Teddy Bridgewater‘s knee injury scared everyone on Sunday. Fortunately, the Panthers quarterback did not suffer any structural damage, as ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen tweets

Bridgewater is dealing with some soreness and swelling, so the Panthers will monitor his condition from here. Given his history, you can expect the team to err on the side of caution, though Bridgewater hurt his right knee, not the left knee that was torn up in 2016. If Bridgewater is ruled out for this week, XFL star P.J. Walker will step in to start against the Lions.

Bridgewater inked a three-year, $60MM+ deal with the Panthers this year to replace Cam Newton under center. The rebuilding effort, led by new head coach Matt Rhule, has yielded a 3-7 record, including yesterday’s 46-23 loss to the Bucs. For his part, Bridgewater has completed 72.1% of his throws, which would represent a new single season watermark. All in all, he’s registered 2,552 passing yards in his ten games with 13 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

Meanwhile, the Panthers aren’t expecting to have star running back Christian McCaffrey against the Lions either (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). McCaffrey has appeared in just three games this year thanks to an ankle injury and his latest shoulder malady. In total, he has taken 59 carries for 225 yards and five rushing TDs, plus 17 catches for 149 yards and one score through the air.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Bridgewater, Panthers, Brees, Saints, Edelman, Patriots

Fortunately today looks like a (relatively) clean Sunday in terms of NFL injuries. We’re still tracking a couple of important quarterbacks though, and we’ve got a few updates to offer as the Week 10 slate winds down:

  • All eyes are on Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers now after Bridgewater suffered a knee injury during Carolina’s loss to Tampa Bay. Bridgewater underwent an MRI immediately after the game, somewhat of a departure from a usual Monday MRI, Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com tweets. While the team clearly wanted to rush him in, fortunately the “initial word” on the injury is that “it’s not serious,” Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Rapsheet adds that a source told him they’re not even ruling Bridgewater out for next week yet. More good news is, as Mortensen points out, the injury is to his right knee which is not the one that was completely torn up during his devastating 2016 injury. All that being said, it sounds like there’s a good chance that former XFL star P.J. Walker gets one or more starts under center for Carolina. They’ll play the Lions next week.
  • Bridgewater wasn’t the only NFC South passer to get banged up, as Drew Brees didn’t play the second half of the Saints’ win over the 49ers due to a rib injury. Brees took a big hit late in the first half and initially stayed in the game before telling Sean Payton at halftime that he wouldn’t be able to continue. Speaking to the media after the game Brees was vague, and described his injury as an “accumulative thing,” via Jeff Nowak of NOLA.com (Twitter video link). He’s been listed on the injury report with a shoulder injury, and Brees made it sound like the issue is a combination of things rather than one specific ailment. It’ll be very interesting to monitor this situation going forward, and to see if Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill would become the starter if he has to miss time. Winston filled in on Sunday, completing 6/10 passes for 63 yards.
  • The Patriots have been widely criticized for the lack of weapons they’ve provided Cam Newton, but fortunately help could be on the way soon. Julian Edelman, sidelined since undergoing a knee procedure a couple of weeks ago, seems to be recovering well. Mike Reiss of ESPN.com heard some “optimism from those close” to Edelman, who said he’s been moving well in recent on-field work. It’s too early to say for sure, but it sounds from Reiss’ blurb that Edelman has a real chance to return in Week 11 when first eligible against the Texans.

Bucs Notes: Winston, Jefferson, Crowell

Throughout his first season as the Buccaneers’ head coach, Bruce Arians was generally non-committal towards former starting QB Jameis Winston. In one memorable sound-bite towards the end of the 2019 campaign, Arians was asked if Tampa could win with a different signal-caller, and he replied, “With another quarterback? Oh yeah. If we can win with this one (Winston), we can definitely win with another one, too.”

Despite that, Arians recently told Rich Eisen of the NFL Network that he is trying to sell other clubs on Winston (via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk). “I’ve called a couple teams,” Arians told Eisen. “You’re going to get one of the hardest workers you’ve ever had and a great young man.” 

However, none of the teams that Arians spoke with indicated they were interested in Winston as a starter. And indeed, teams that entered the offseason with QB needs have either filled those needs, plan to stay the course with their current group of passers, or are expected to use a high draft pick on a quarterback. So at this point, Winston will just need to get on a roster and hope that an opportunity opens up.

Now for more on the suddenly interesting Bucs:

  • We recently heard that the Buccaneers’ top QB choices were Tom Brady, then Teddy Bridgewater, then Winston, and Arians confirmed as much in the above-referenced interview with Eisen. “[A Winston re-up] didn’t work out for us only because [Brady] was available and we had [Bridgewater] if that wouldn’t have worked out,” Arians said. “We were going full steam ahead back with Jameis.”
  • After entering the offseason with a ton of cap space, the Bucs have only about $14MM left to spend, as Greg Auman of The Athletic observes, and some of that will be needed to sign the club’s draft picks. Auman takes a look at a few veteran FAs still available that could fit the Bucs’ remaining needs. One such player is safety Tony Jefferson, who played for Arians for four years in Arizona and who would represent a quality veteran presence in Tampa’s young defensive backfield.
  • The Bucs could wait until the draft to fill their need for a pass-catching RB, but if they are unable to do so or unwilling to wait, they could look at Isaiah Crowell, per Auman. Crowell does not have a past connection to Arians but did play for DC Todd Bowles when Bowles was the Jets’ head coach in 2018.
  • DB Ryan Smith re-signed with the Buccaneers several days ago, and Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports says Smith’s one-year deal has a max value of $2.25MM (Twitter link).
  • Even though Brady may want him, the Buccaneers have no intention of signing Antonio Brown.

Brady Fallout: Bucs, Belichick, Colts, Hoyer

The Buccaneers‘ signing of the most accomplished free agent in NFL history triggered a ripple effect in several cities. That started in Charlotte. Although neither Bruce Arians nor Jason Licht spoke to Tom Brady until Wednesday of last week, the Bucs believed they had a “shell of a deal” with Brady by Tuesday, Peter King of NBC Sports reports. This was hours before the future Hall of Fame quarterback announced he would no longer return to the Patriots. The Bucs’ discussions with Brady’s agent, Don Yee, Tuesday prompted them to bow out of the Teddy Bridgewater pursuit, King adds. Bridgewater’s Panthers offer prompted the Bucs to give him an answer, and they chose to stay in the Brady pursuit without a full commitment. The Bucs had been linked to Bridgewater for weeks.

At February’s end, the Bucs’ quarterback hierarchy went Brady-Bridgewater-Jameis Winston, King notes. Tampa Bay had also been linked to Philip Rivers in February, but it became clear the Colts were his top option.

Here is the latest fallout from the Bucs’ Brady signing:

  • Brady’s camp expressed interest in the Colts, but King notes the interest was not mutual. The prospect of a Rivers-Colts partnership surfaced shortly after the Chargers revealed they would not re-sign him, and while the notion of Rivers-over-Brady sounds interesting based on the veterans’ accolades, Stephen Holder of The Athletic tweets the Colts’ preference of going with a one-year quarterback arrangement probably did not align with Brady’s hopes of a multiyear commitment. Rivers signed a one-year, $25MM deal; Brady became a Buccaneer for two years and $50MM fully guaranteed. Brady also expressed interest in the 49ers, and the Titans were a long-rumored suitor. These franchises joined the Colts and Raiders in leaving the Brady race early.
  • Early this offseason, Brady’s camp put out feelers to other teams, and ESPN.com’s Seth Wickersham notes many executives around the league viewed the quarterback as being driven by ill will toward Bill Belichick that they could not tell if he wanted out of New England or merely wanted Robert Kraft to step in and broker a new Pats deal. Belichick refused to give Brady the extension he sought last summer, and Wickersham adds that a Brady-Belichick conversation in late 2017 about the quarterback’s future with the Patriots ended with a “blowup.” This meeting appears to have happened just before Wickersham’s “tension in New England”-centered report that indicated Kraft’s intervention helped drive the Jimmy Garoppolo-to-San Francisco deal. The Patriots gave Brady an incentive package in 2018, leading to his extension-in-name-only 2019 contract.
  • As for the Patriots‘ plans, they may actually be planning a Brian HoyerJarrett Stidham quarterback battle. Hoyer could have earned more money elsewhere but wanted to return to New England because he was told he will have a chance to vie for the starting job, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (video link). The Patriots, as of now, do not have Andy Dalton on their radar and are viewed as being high on Stidham, who has attempted four NFL passes.

Contract Details: Bridgewater, Panthers, Vaitai, Lions, Byrd, Patriots, Brees, Saints

The latest notes on all of the contracts being handed out around the league:

  • QB Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers: signed. Bridgewater got a three-year deal worth $63MM and a whopping $40MM of that is guaranteed in the first two years, according to David Newton of ESPN.com. He got a $15MM signing bonus to take over for the start of the Matt Rhule era. Newton’s post has the full breakdown on how it’ll be paid out with various workout and roster bonuses.
  • OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Lions: signed. Vaitai’s five-year, $50MM contract includes $20MM guaranteed which will come in the first two years of the deal, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM NFL Radio tweets. Detroit can get out of the pact after that.
  • WR Damiere ByrdPatriots: signed. Byrd’s one-year deal can be worth up to $2.5MM, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network notes in a tweet.
  • QB Drew Brees, Saints: re-signed. Brees’ two-year, $50MM new deal with New Orleans includes a signing bonus of $23MM and a small base salary of only $2MM in year one, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. That structure as well as two voidable years added on for 2022-2023 help keep his 2020 cap hit very low so the Saints can spend more as they gear up for one more Super Bowl with Brees under center.
  • LB Sean Lee, Cowboys: re-signed. Lee is back for one more ride on a one-year, $4.5MM deal with $2MM guaranteed. He actually could earn up to $6.5MM if he hits some playing time incentives, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com, although he writes they’re “not-likely-to-be-earned.”
  • S Darian Thompson, Cowboys: re-signed. Thompson is getting a two-year deal worth $2.5MM, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. He’s getting a $200K signing bonus and can earn an extra $250K with playing time escalators.
  • WR Cody Core, Giants: re-signed. New York locked up the special teams ace who barely plays on offense, and he got paid handsomely. Core will be getting $4MM over a two-year deal, Wilson tweets. Only $1MM of it is guaranteed however.
  • S Jordan PoyerBills: extension. The full details are in on Poyer’s new pact. Poyer had two new years added on and will now make $22.7MM over the next three years with $13MM of that being guaranteed, Wilson tweets. He also got a $3MM signing bonus. In a separate tweet, Wilson notes that Poyer has an annual $500K interception incentive he can earn.

Panthers To Sign Teddy Bridgewater

The Panthers are expected to sign Teddy Bridgewater when the league year officially kicks off on Wednesday, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen (on Twitter). The two sides are still ironing out the details, but it’ll be a three-year deal in the range of $60MM, Mort hears. 

On Tuesday morning, the Panthers announced that they have given Cam Newton permission to seek a trade. Interestingly, that news caught Newton off-guard – he accused the Panthers of “wordplay” to imply that he wanted out. Either way, Newton will be playing elsewhere in 2020 and Bridgewater will be the club’s starter moving forward.

Bridgewater, who is beloved by just about everyone in NFL circles, worked tirelessly to come back from what could have been a career-ending knee injury. Since moving on from the Vikings, he’s shown that he still has tons of talent to go along with his charisma and leadership.

Last year, he got five opportunities to start in Drew Brees‘ stead and he went undefeated. Now, heading into his age-28 season, the Panthers are hopeful that he can rekindle his early Minnesota magic.

Before the injury, Bridgewater averaged 3,075 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in his first two seasons. With the Saints, he sat for most of the 2018 season before leading the team to a 5-0 record in Brees’ absence last year. While Bridgewater ranked at or near the bottom in multiple Next Gen Stats focused on average air yards, he completed 67% of his passes in 2019.

This also represents an interesting move for a Panthers team that has been linked to a possible run at Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields in 2021. While Bridgewater will be tasked with taking over a team that has lost a lot of talent this year, he profiles as a quarterback talented enough to play Carolina out of the No. 1 or No. 2 draft slots — likely needed to secure Lawrence or Fields — next year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Interested In Teddy Bridgewater

The Patriots have shown interest in Saints free agent Teddy Bridgewater, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The Pats, of course, are in the market for a quarterback after Tom Brady announced that he’ll be heading elsewhere in 2020. 

[RELATED: Tom Brady Bids Farewell To Patriots]

Bridgewater has started in just six games since January of 2016, but he’s also made a complete recovery from his devastating injury. Many believe that Bridgewater can thrive if given the opportunity to start. By extension, there are also many who are questioning the Saints’ decision to move forward with Taysom Hill as the main backup and heir apparent to Drew Brees instead of the proven vet.

Last year, Bridgewater went 5-0 as the Saints’ starter, filling in for Brees while he was sidelined. His performance has made him an appealing option for lots of teams – including the Panthers – so the Pats will have their work cut out for them.

Before the injury, Bridgewater 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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.