Denver Broncos: Sam Darnold trade impact on George Paton’s plan

Denver Broncos offseason: QB #14 Sam Darnold Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos offseason: QB #14 Sam Darnold Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Denver Broncos, Teddy Bridgewater
Denver Broncos 2021 offseason: Teddy Bridgewater. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

Teddy Bridgewater – a new hedge on the way?

The Carolina Panthers’ acquisition of Sam Darnold puts the writing on the wall for Teddy Bridgewater.

Bridgewater started 15 games for the Panthers in 2020 and had 20 total touchdowns (15 passing, 5 rushing) with a career-high 249 yards per game. Over the course of his last 20 starts (between Carolina and New Orleans, Bridgewater has a combined 24 touchdown passes, 13 interceptions, and a completion percentage hovering around 69 percent.

The Panthers signed Bridgewater to a three-year, $63 million deal in the 2020 offseason with $33 million in guaranteed money. Among those guarantees are $10 million of his 2021 salary ($17 million).

The base price for acquiring Bridgewater is going to be $10 million this season, but that’s a pretty palatable price for a quarterback considering the Broncos’ current situation and budget, provided Bridgewater and the Panthers could figure out a way to get the Broncos off the hook for the other $7 million of Bridgewater’s 2021 salary.

Again, the writing is on the wall for Bridgewater and the Panthers, and they would save less than $3 million in cap space by cutting him outright.

Mike Klis had an interesting idea when it comes to Bridgewater’s financials…

Essentially that year, the Washington Football Team was able to double the Broncos’ savings on what would have been had they cut Case Keenum. They ensured Keenum was not going to sign with another team and paid a small price to make it happen.

The Broncos have three seventh-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, and not that those are completely negligible, but throwing a pick at the Panthers to send Bridgewater on a re-worked contract could benefit both parties.

Bridgewater would have a chance to beat Drew Lock for a starting job and George Paton would get another chance to see if a former first-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings (while Paton was there) could help his team to the playoffs, this time in Denver.