The Denver Broncos have made a trade with the Carolina Panthers for QB Teddy Bridgewater, who was going to be replaced by Sam Darnold this season. In order to facilitate the trade it sounds as if Bridgewater will agree to a reduced salary and that the Panthers will eat most of the cost.
Panthers are trading to QB Teddy Bridgewater to the Broncos for a sixth-round pick, as @TomPelissero reported.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 28, 2021
Panthers paying Bridgewater $7 million, Broncos paying him $3 million, per source.
Trade does not take Denver out of QB market Thursday night, per source.
With such a low salary and draft compensation I would expect the Broncos to continue to look at QB’s as Schefter mentioned. This is basically the money that you would pay a backup and it should give the Broncos some insurance if Drew Lock fails to improve this offseason. While Bridgewater has limited upside he has proven to be capable of managing a good offense and the Broncos certainly have talent on that side of the football.
For the Panthers this is another in a long list of bad deals over the past few years. They grossly overpaid Bridgewater in free agency at $21 million a year with $33 million guaranteed at signing. This is the type of free agent that is generally a disaster signing and Bridgewater joins the list of names like Nick Foles who cashed in off limited games and desperate franchises.
Bridgewater will end up pocketing $31 million from the Panthers for 15 starts and 4 wins. The team will carry $17 million in dead money this year and his release will create about $6 million in cap space for Carolina in 2022. The reason that Bridgewater agreed to a reduced salary is because he had $10 million of his salary guaranteed this year. The guarantee had offsets so he was locked into a $10 million salary no matter what. By only paying $7 million the Panthers will save $2 million more than if they had cut him and allowed him to sign for the minimum with another team.
Carolina’s depth chart at the QB position takes a hit with the trade and Darnold has never played 16 games in his three year career so a backup could be important. That said there is no way they could justify the cost for Bridgewater. Whether they are content with PJ Walker and Will Grier for next season or look for a cheap veteran remains to be seen. I still think that if the right QB fell in the draft that they could possibly pick someone and maybe they hope that this prevents the Broncos from making a trade ahead of them in the draft.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.