Now that Sam Darnold is a member of the Carolina Panthers, the natural question is where 2020 Panthers starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will play football in 2021.
Multiple teams are interested in the 28-year-old, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, but the finances are tricky.
Per Spotrac, the Panthers would still owe Bridgewater $10 million in the event of a trade, but they could push $5 million of that into 2022 if they deal him after June 1. Regardless, Bridgewater's new team would be on the hook for about $13 million next season, which isn't bad for a borderline starter with a career completion percentage of 66.5, a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 53-to-36 and a record of 26-23.
"We're going to find the right place [for Bridgewater], whether it's here or someplace else," Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said last week, per The Athletic's Joe Person. The next day, Rapoport reported that the organization spoke with Bridgewater and "allowed him the opportunity to talk with teams to potentially facilitate a trade."
With all of that in mind and the Panthers prepared to—in the words of head coach Matt Rhule—"wait and see how things play out," let's look at prime potential destinations for the 2014 first-round pick.
Warning: It's a list that includes more than a quarter of the league. And you really can't totally rule out the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans and Washington Football Team, all of whom could view Bridgewater as a worthwhile upgrade in the QB2 spot.
The price would probably be a little too steep considering other quarterback expenditures for those teams, but you never know. And even the Jets would make a lot of sense but weren't included because you'd think they would have just asked for Bridgewater as part of the Darnold trade.
Instead, we focused on the nine teams that seem the most obvious, with explanations provided for each.
Dallas saw its season go down the drain when Dak Prescott was injured in October, and it doesn't have a quality insurance policy in place after losing Andy Dalton on the free-agent market. The Cowboys wouldn't likely be Bridgewater's first choice considering that Prescott is locked in permanently as the QB1, but it's an attractive football environment and Jerry Jones could make a strong pitch.
Still, this ranks on the low end of the list because of Prescott's presence as well as the fact the Cowboys have less than $10 million in salary-cap space, according to Spotrac.
The Broncos have yet to land competition for young Drew Lock, but they've made no secret of the fact that they're seeking it. New Broncos general manager George Paton worked in the Vikings front office when they drafted Bridgewater in 2014 and has plenty of cap space to make a deal work.