The team has traded Bridgewater to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a sixth-round pick, per league source. The Panthers now have pick No. 191 in this year’s draft and eight total selections. The team is scheduled to pick three times in the sixth round.
Bridgewater, 28, spent just one season with the Panthers after signing a three-year, $63 million deal last offseason that allowed for the team to get out of the contract easily before Year 3.
The move became expected when the Panthers traded with the New York Jets for quarterback Sam Darnold in early April. In exchange for Darnold, who will be under contract for two years if the team picks up his fifth-year option, Carolina gave up a 2021 sixth-round pick and 2022 second- and fourth-round picks. The Panthers believe in the 23-year old’s potential in coordinator Joe Brady’s offense, and he will be assisted by some of the pieces Bridgewater did not have around him.
The team confirmed that Bridgewater’s representation had been given permission to seek a trade following the acquisition of Darnold.
Panthers owner David Tepper was not happy with the results on the field from Bridgewater, especially in late-game situations. The team went 0-8 with the ball in the offense’s hands in potential game-winning or game-tying situations at the end of the fourth quarter.
“It’s a question of who can be that guy that can help you win. That’s the most important position on the field,” Tepper said in December. “Unless you have that guy for sure that gets you to playoffs and Super Bowls, you have to keep reevaluating that because that’s the only thing that matters is Super Bowls. And until you have that guy, you’re evaluating, evaluating, evaluating every year.”
Bridgewater is due $18 million in 2021. Trading him saves the Panthers over $12 million in cap space with the move, per Over the Cap. He will account for $10 million in dead cap space this year and $5 million next season.
In his one season in Carolina, Bridgewater largely performed as should have been expected. He completed 69.1% of his passes for 3,733 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also rushed 53 times and had five rushing touchdowns.
The former Vikings first-round pick in 2014 has bounced from team to team over the last several years of his career, now landing on his third team in as many seasons. The Panthers were his latest chance at a starting role after suffering a devastating injury during training camp in Minnesota caused him to miss about two seasons (2016-17).
This story is breaking and will be updated.