Panthers reportedly close on deal for Teddy Bridgewater, who would replace Cam Newton

The Carolina Panthers appear to be moving ahead with a new quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater is closing in on a three-year, $63 million deal with the team, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The deal is not finalized yet, but the fact that the financials have leaked suggests it’s pretty far along. It’s expected to be finalized once the new league year begins Wednesday.

Bridgewater, 27, would presumably replace Cam Newton, 30, as the Panthers’ starting quarterback. The Panthers gave Newton permission to seek a trade Tuesday. Newton says the team forced his hand.

Teddy Bridgewater’s opportunity

The contract would give Bridgewater his first shot at a No. 1 spot on the depth chart since 2015. That season, Bridgewater threw for 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions while leading the Minnesota Vikings to an 11-5 record. Bridgewater was expected to start again in 2016, but suffered a devastating knee injury before the season began. He missed the entire season and played in just one game in 2017 before signing with the New Orleans Saints in the offseason.

With the Saints, Bridgewater served as a backup to Drew Brees. He went 5-0 as a starter this past season while Brees was injured, throwing nine touchdowns and two interceptions.

Teddy Bridgewater may be going to Carolina. (AP Photo/Mark Black, File)
Teddy Bridgewater may be going to Carolina. (AP Photo/Mark Black, File)

How will Teddy Bridgewater perform with the Panthers?

It’s tough to project Bridgewater’s future after he served as a backup the past couple seasons. He looked effective and competent this past season, but he’ll have to prove those games weren’t a fluke.

There’s some evidence that Bridgewater is landing in an ideal spot. Joe Brady — the Panthers’ offensive coordinator — was an offensive assistant with the Saints in 2018, one of the years Bridgewater was with New Orleans.

What does the Teddy Bridgewater deal mean for Cam Newton?

Should the Bridgewater deal go through, Newton’s time in Carolina would effectively be over. The team isn’t going to spend $20-plus million per season on a backup quarterback.

Newton’s availability throws a major wrench in free agency. Unlike other quarterbacks on the market, it will cost draft picks to acquire Newton, but if healthy, he may have the highest upside of any other QB on the market.

Health will be the big concern with Newton. He has missed time with a shoulder injury and played in just two games last season due to a foot issue. Teams looking into Newton will have to be certain he can regain his old form after an offseason of rest.

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