Teddy Bridgewater Deserves Better

Teddy Bridgewater.
Teddy Bridgewater. / Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The fallout from Matthew Stafford's trade to the Rams has reached virtually every corner of the NFL world. From the Patriots looking bad to the 49ers' flirtations with Stafford seemingly confirming their desire to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo to the failed offer from Washington to secure Stafford to what this trade means for Deshaun Watson and the Texans, it's been a wild follow to the biggest trade of the NFL offseason so far.

No one in the NFL, however, deserves to be more upset about the fallout than Teddy Bridgewater. The Panthers signed him last offseason to be their bridge quarterback or maybe more, but after an up-and-down year under a new regime, the Panthers are apparently so eager to move on from Bridgewater they offered the Lions the No. 8 pick and more for Stafford.

That is a slap in the face of Bridgewater. The man is only 15 games into the three-year, $63 million contract you signed him to and you're already moving on from him? I know he wasn't elite by any means this season, but, with Christian McCaffrey injured most of the year, it's not like the Panthers surrounded him with Pro Bowl talent. DJ Moore and Robbie Anderson are a solid duo, but let's not act like they're the reincarnation of Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.

Last season was the first time Bridgewater was a full-time starter since suffering a life-threatening knee and leg injury before the 2016 season. It took three years before he was truly ready to play football again and another year before he led the Saints to a 5-0 record as a starter when Drew Brees got hurt. That's why the Panthers signed him. Now they appear fine kicking him to the curb despite the fact that Bridgewater wasn't much worse than Stafford in 2020.

In 15 starts, Bridgewater accounted for 20 touchdowns (passing and rushing) against 14 turnovers (interceptions and fumbles lost). In 16 starts, Stafford accounted for 26 touchdowns against 11 turnovers. Stafford threw for just over 300 more yards than Bridgewater, but Bridgewater rushed for over 100 more yards than Stafford. Bridgewater's completion percentage was also 3.9 percent higher than Stafford's.

This is not to knock Stafford. It's simply to point out they were similarly successful on bad teams. Stafford wasn't going to come into Charlotte and turn around the franchise in 2021 any more than Bridgewater did in 2020. Or if he did, it would have been because the team took a step forward, not one player.

Offseason leaks suggest the Panthers are ready to move on from Bridgewater. They are apparently so desperate to do so they're willing to give up a Top-10 draft pick for that chance. That signals they don't like the quarterbacks they believe will be available when they draft and want to bring in a veteran to usurp Bridgewater. That's unfortunate because Bridgewater did nothing this year to deserve that treatment. He was a mediocre starter on a bad team. Maybe put a better team around him and you'll get a better quarterback.