Former 1st Round Pick Gaining Steam as Next Possible Bears QB

Teddy Bridgewater Bears

Getty QB Teddy Bridgewater of the Carolina Panthers

Could the Chicago Bears take a second shot at nabbing the talents of Teddy Bridgewater? Oddsmakers and analysts alike have been mentioning the current Carolina Panthers quarterback in relation to the Bears more and more, particularly after recent developments. Carolina released several players last week, freeing up nearly $30 million in cap space, and it has been mentioned by Ian Rapoport as a dark horse contender to win the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes.

The Panthers also reportedly tried to trade Bridgewater and this year’s first-round draft pick to the Lions for Matthew Stafford — a deal that obviously didn’t work out. The 28-year-old Bridgewater must be getting tired of hearing about how his current team wants to acquire a different starter, because he recently stopped following the Panthers on social media.

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Bears Tried to Sign Bridgewater Last Offseason

Chicago was interested in signing Bridgewater last season, but he apparently didn’t want to compete for the starting job with Mitch Trubisky when a starting position was already waiting for him in Carolina, per former Chicago sports writer and media personality Dan McNeil.

Bears head coach Matt Nagy confirmed the team’s interest in Bridgewater last season. “That was one that we looked at,” Nagy said about Bridgewater in October, via 670 The Score’s Chris Emma. “And just from evaluating Teddy, and I did that, I knew a good amount about him when he came out.” Nagy also noted that Bridgewater’s October 2019 win in Chicago while filling in for an injured Drew Brees left a lasting impression:

Firsthand, we got to see him with the Saints and what he did to us there. He’s playing at a really consistent, high level. He’s putting his team in good positions. He’s making smart decisions. That’s a huge part of playing quarterback is making smart decisions. And then making the type of downfield throws and getting the ball into your playmakers’ hands, which they have a lot of. Just who he is as a person and the type of leader that he is by example — from what I remember, he wasn’t a very vocal guy, but his actions showed who he was as a leader.

Carolina currently has the 8th overall pick in the draft this year after finishing 5-12 in 2020, so there’s a decent possibility they’ll draft a quarterback if the need is really that high on the team’s agenda — and it seems to be. If the Panthers continue to flirt with signing other signal-callers, Bridgewater’s days there are clearly numbered — but would he be an improvement over Mitch Trubisky?

Trubisky vs Bridgewater 2019-2020 Stat Comparison

Looking at their numbers from the 2019 and 2020 seasons (Bridgewater had 20 starts compared to Trubisky’s 24 over the last two years), it’s clear Bridgewater is more accurate, but the rest of their numbers are fairly similar:

Bridgewater: 5,117 yards, 68.5 completion percentage, 95.6 rating, 23 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 310 yards rushing and five rushing scores in 20 starts in 2019-20.

Trubisky: 5,193 yards, 65.1 percent completion percentage, 88.3 rating, 33 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 388 yards rushing and three rushing scores in 24 starts in 2019-20.

While Bridgewater has been in the league three more seasons than Trubisky has, a torn ACL in 2016 that also included other structural damage in his knee cut his 2016 and 2017 campaigns short. The Vikings selected him with the 32nd overall pick in 2014.

He threw for 216 yards and no touchdowns while tossing two picks Week 6 against Chicago this season, so if his 2019 win while with New Orleans was memorable, his most recent performance in the Windy City was not.

In 2020, Bridgewater signed a three-year, $63 million contract that carries a cap hit of nearly $23 million and dead cap hit of $20 million in 2021, per Over the Cap. He has $10 million guaranteed in 2021, but no guaranteed money after that. The Bears could afford him, but considering serviceable signal-callers like, say, Gardner Minshew will likely be available for less than a million dollars in 2021, signing Bridgewater now — especially with veteran Nick Foles still on the roster — could be a bit of a stretch. But if Nagy still thinks so highly of Bridgewater, it’s a move that cannot be ruled out, and it’s currently one of the more intriguing options for Chicago.

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