Important news from around the NFC South occurred on Tuesday, as the Carolina Panthers are working to finalize a deal with former New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, according to a report by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.
Bridgewater, 27, previously worked with new Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady in New Orleans during the 2018 season when Brady was an offensive assistant with the Saints. Bridgewater started five games for the Saints in 2019, filling in for an injured Drew Brees, and was a perfect 5-0 in those contests. He completed 115 passes for 1,205 yards and nine touchdowns with only two interceptions in his five starts, and Pro Football Focus graded Bridgewater as the fifth-best quarterback in the league during those five weeks.
The Panthers are heading in a new direction under first-time NFL head coach Matt Rhule. After months of speculation as to the future of former MVP quarterback Cam Newton with the franchise, Carolina announced Tuesday that it was giving Newton permission to seek a trade.
That news, coupled with the reports of a pending Bridgewater deal, indicates a changing of the guard at quarterback in Carolina. Bridgewater was, himself, a former first-round draft pick, selected by the Minnesota Vikings in 2014. He looked to be developing into a franchise quarterback for the Vikings, leading them to a playoff berth and earning a spot in the Pro Bowl in just his second season.
A gruesome knee injury forced Bridgewater to miss all of the 2016 season and a vast majority of the 2017 season, even threatening to derail his NFL career. When Bridgewater did return to the field over the past two seasons, he showed enough to earn the confidence of those now calling the shots in Carolina.
Bridgewater has started at quarterback against the Atlanta Falcons twice in his career, and he's won both of those games. The first, a 41-28 victory, came in his first ever NFL start for Minnesota back in 2014. He also led the Vikings to a 20-10 win in Atlanta in 2015. Against the Falcons, Bridgewater has completed 39 of his 58 attempts for 491 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.