Former Minnesota Vikings first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater is on the move again.
The Carolina Panthers traded Bridgewater to the Denver Broncos on Wednesday in exchange for a sixth-round pick as the Panthers move forward with newly acquired quarterback Sam Darnold.
Bridgewater, joining the Broncos on a one-year deal worth $10 million between the two teams, moves on to his fifth team in five years since the Vikings released him in 2017.
Despite Bridgewater’s struggles to find a new home to settle in as a franchise quarterback, the trade brought Bridgewater relief, whose standing in Carolina had shifted under the Panthers’ ownership.
He shared a one-second clip on his Instagram story around the time the trade went public on Wednesday.
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Bridgewater Won’t Stay Down
A relatively young quarterback at the age of 28, Bridgewater’s resiliency and staying power in the NFL are as rare as his recovery from the freak injury that almost cost him his leg.
Bridgewater, selected by the Vikings as the final first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, looked every bit of a future franchise quarterback coming off a playoff appearance and a Pro Bowl in sophomore season in Minnesota.
Bridgewater planted his foot wrong and suffered an ACL tear and dislocated knee late in Vikings training camp and led to a lengthy two-year recovery and eventual release in 2017.
He then had a sip of coffee with the New York Jets in the spring of 2018 before signing with the New Orleans Saints later that August. As a backup, Bridgewater went 5-0 as a starter when replacing Drew Brees in 2019 — a run that landed him a three-year, $63 million deal with the Panthers last season.
Bridgewater struggled in a rebuilding Panthers organization that was without Christian McCaffrey and had moved on from Cam Newton and Ron Rivera last offseason.
When Carolina gave up three draft picks to acquire Sam Darnold, the writing was on the wall that the Panthers would give Darnold the reigns and give the starting quarterback carousel another spin.
Bridgewater now heads to Denver after completing a career-high 69.1% of his pass attempts in 2020, likely optimistic about a fresh start.
Bridgewater Trade Sets Stage for Vikings Trade-Up?
The Broncos have been one of the team’s projected to take a quarterback with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
But after the Bridgewater trade, Denver, helmed by new general manager former Vikings Vice President of Player Personnel George Paton, may not have as much urgency to draft with the ninth pick and would consider adding draft capital by trading down.
That could leave room for Minnesota to move up from No. 14 overall if the right player begins to slide — most likely one of the top two offensive linemen in Penei Sewell (Oregon) or Rashawn Slater (Northwestern).
The Vikings are entertaining all options depending upon how the first handful of picks pan out when the 2021 NFL Draft begins at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday.