Bridgewater flashed back-end QB1 Fantasy upside during his five-game stint with the Saints in 2019 and it looked like he was ready to expand on that during the first half of the 2020 season in his debut with Carolina. His early success didn't carry over to the second half after teams got more game film on Bridgewater in OC Joe Brady's offense and the rushing numbers came down as well. Entering 2021, he will compete with Drew Lock to start for Denver. While OC Pat Shurmur runs a very QB-friendly offense, and Bridgewater will also inherit a better supporting cast, it seems likely the hand-picked Lock will get the first chance to start. If pressed into action, Bridgewater will remain nothing more than a QB2 for Fantasy purposes.
Coach Vic Fangio said Bridgewater and Drew Lock will split reps "50-50" during the offseason program and training camp, Mike Klis of 9News Denver reports. Fangio's statement comes as no surprise after the Broncos acquired Bridgewater from the Panthers this week and made no additions to the QB room during the draft. Since his devastating knee injury just before the start of the 2016 season, Bridgewater has started 21 of his 29 appearances between the Saints and Panthers on his way to a 68.5 completion percentage, 5,235 yards, 25 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He also racked up 315 yards and five scores on the ground during that stretch. The next few months will determine who among Bridgewater and Lock is under center for Denver in Week 1.
The Broncos acquired Bridgewater from the Panthers on Wednesday in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports. With $10 million of his $17 million base salary for 2021 being guaranteed, Bridgewater didn't have much value on the open market. In fact, Troy Renck of Denver 7 News reports the Panthers will pay some of the quarterback's salary to facilitate the trade. Bridgewater is now in line to compete with Drew Lock for a starting job, while Sam Darnold is left as the only quarterback in Carolina with significant NFL experience. This trade seemingly increases the odds of the Panthers drafting a signal-caller and decreases the odds of the Broncos taking one, but it could still go either way in both cases, considering none of Bridgewater, Lock or Darnold looks especially likely to become a true franchise quarterback.
The Panthers are allowing Bridgewater to talk with other teams to facilitate a potential trade, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. The Sam Darnold trade didn't remove all of Bridgewater's leverage, as he still has a $10 million guarantee on his $17 million base salary for 2021. That means there's some chance he sticks around in Carolina, even if it's ultimately as a backup to Darnold. The Panthers seemingly prefer to trade Bridgewater, but that might be easier said than done at this point in the offseason.
Bridgewater could be traded after the Panthers acquired QB Sam Darnold on Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. The Panthers could instead ask Bridgewater to adjust his contract, though a $10 million guarantee on his $17 million base salary gives the quarterback an awful lot of leverage in negotiations. If he does end up staying in Carolina, he'll likely be given an opportunity to compete with Darnold for the starting job.
Head coach Matt Rhule said Wednesday that Bridgewater (ankle) is "having a tremendous offseason" and currently remains the Panthers' top quarterback, Joe Person of The Athletic reports. Rhule's comments run contrary to popular speculation surrounding the Panthers this offseason, which has been that the team would look to upgrade at the quarterback position either in free agency or the 2021 NFL Draft. As David Newton of ESPN.com notes, Bridgewater's name had reportedly been floated as part of a potential deal for Matthew Stafford, who ultimately landed with the Rams. Bridgewater's contract doesn't have a potential 'out' until after 2021, so he could certainly be back with Carolina next season. Of course, Rhule also made clear that the Panthers will analyze the top rookie quarterbacks available and attend their pro days, per Person. Carolina currently holds the No. 8 overall pick in April's draft, and if the team ends up selecting a rookie signal-caller, Bridgewater could make for a fine bridge option.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/12||@New York Giants||3||17.63|
|3||09/26||New York Jets||29||24.75|
|6||10/17||Las Vegas Raiders||23||22.38|
|8||10/31||Washington Football Team||6||17.88|
|12||11/28||Los Angeles Chargers||25||22.63|
|13||12/05||@Kansas City Chiefs||18||21.26|
|16||12/26||@Las Vegas Raiders||23||22.38|
|17||01/02||@Los Angeles Chargers||25||22.63|
|18||01/09||Kansas City Chiefs||18||21.26|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||68.4||1745||8||5||105||2||127|