Teddy Bridgewater headed to Denver in pre-NFL Draft trade: How does this impact Washington?

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Ethan Cadeaux
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Teddy Bridgewater headed to Denver: How does this impact WFT? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Just one day before the 2021 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers have traded quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a sixth-round pick.

The deal between Carolina and Denver, who are slotted to pick eighth and ninth, respectively, in the first round on Thursday night, that certainly will impact the top half of the draft board.

But these trades often have cascading effects down the draft board, too. So how could this deal impact the Washington Football Team, which is currently positioned to pick 19th overall? Let's break it down.

Don't expect one of the top QBs to slip outside the top 10

There are five quarterbacks -- Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance -- that are expected to be first-round picks. All five of them could come off the board in the draft's first 10 picks, too, if not earlier.

Sitting at No. 19, it's always been unlikely that one of the top QBs would still be on the board for Washington. Trading up has always appeared to be the only way Ron Rivera and his staff could draft their quarterback of the future in the first round.

RELATED: Moving up from No. 19? Rivera, Mayhew won't rule out draft night moves

But, if the club was hoping one of them would slip a few spots on draft night to where a trade would make more sense, don't count on that happening now.

Carolina was reportedly open to selecting a quarterback at No. 8 even before trading Bridgewater. Now that they've unloaded him to Denver, it appears even more likely a passer is in play for them with that selection. Yes, Sam Darnold is their starter, but the team has yet to pick up his fifth-year option, too.

The Jaguars, Jets and 49ers are all going to take quarterbacks to begin the draft. Atlanta could take one at No. 4, too, as well as Detroit at No. 7. That means there's a possibility that five teams take passer before either Carolina or Denver is on the clock.

By trading for Bridgewater, Denver has brought in competition for rising third-year passer Drew Lock, something they've wanted to do all offseason. Even after adding Bridgewater, they're not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 9, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

But, by adding a solid veteran to its quarterback room, the deal for Bridgewater shows the Broncos are not confident the quarterback of their choice will be there at No. 9. Otherwise, making a move for  Bridgewater makes little sense.

Could Drew Lock be an option?

Let's address hypotheticals for a minute, though: say one of the top quarterbacks IS still available at No. 9 when it's Denver's turn to pick and the Broncos choose him.

Then, Denver's quarterback room would be Lock, Bridgewater and a first-round rookie. What happens then?

The first-round rookie is automatically a roster lock. Bridgewater likely is, too, or else Denver would have given Carolina a sixth-round pick for free. So, that leaves Lock, a rising third-year passer, as the odd man out.

Sure, Denver could keep all three quarterbacks on its roster. Especially if the Broncos take Fields or Lance, the two passers draft experts think would benefit from using 2021 as a redshirt year behind a veteran. But, that scenario remains less likely than Denver moving on from Lock, should they find a trade partner.

Could Washington be a potential landing spot for Lock? The Denver QB is just 24 years old and has proven more on the NFL level than both Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen. He's under contract for two more seasons, too, and on a rookie deal.

It's unclear what compensation would be for Lock, but it likely wouldn't be too much. A third-round pick could perhaps do the trick, especially since Denver could be looking to get rid of him if they draft a first-round quarterback.

Washington has its 2021 starter in Ryan Fitzpatrick, but who the team's QB of the future will be remains unclear. It's why many draft experts still think Washington could trade up in this year's draft to select a passer, too.

The jury remains out on Lock. He's shown flashes in Denver that makes it seem he has all the tools to be a franchise QB, but also has had plenty of growing pains in his first two seasons. Trading for Lock wouldn't be a home run acquisition for Washington, but he's a player that could perhaps bring some upside at the most important position.

These are the dominoes that can quickly fall based on where the five QBs land. It's why Ron Rivera has repeatedly said Washington will react according to how the draft plays out in front of them. Be ready for anything on Thursday night.