Even though players can’t officially sign and join new organizations until Wednesday, March 18 when the new league year officially begins, the legal tampering period kicked off Monday at noon. During that legal tampering period, players can agree to terms with new teams.
With none of the primary free agent quarterbacks agreeing to terms on Monday, we were due for one of these available passers to start the movement…
The Panthers and Teddy Bridgewater are negotiating a 3-year contract in the $60 million range, per source. The deal is not done as they work out details but it is expected to be complete when new league year opens Wednesday.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 17, 2020
Teddy Bridgewater joins the new Carolina Panthers coaching staff of Matt Rhule and Joe Brady in Carolina. Brady was with the Saints over the 2017-2018 seasons as an offensive assistant while Bridgewater served as a backup to Drew Brees. Of course, this also signals the upcoming end of Cam Newton’s run with the Panthers. The team announced that he is permitted to seek out a trade, but we’ll address that when Newton finds a new home.
Teddy Bridgewater Career Stats
Bridgewater hasn’t been a full-time starting quarterback since the 2015 season. Working his way back from a devastating knee injury that cost him the entire 2016 season, Bridgewater finally was needed for an extended stretch last season when Brees suffered a thumb injury.
Bridgewater started five games. The Saints posted a 5-0 record with Bridgewater under center, but did have significant offensive decline, losing 5.3 points scored per game and 38.2 total yards per game off their starts with Brees under center. For fantasy, Bridgewater averaged 16.7 points per game, finishing as the QB18 (16.3 points), QB26 (6.5), QB4 (27.3), QB17 (13.6), and QB13 (19.9) in overall scoring those weeks. Pairing that with his first two seasons coming in at QB27 and QB32 in fantasy points per game, there’s not a strong history of consistent high-end fantasy scoring from Bridgewater.
Comparing Bridgewater to what the Panthers got out of Kyle Allen in 2019 using the completion percentage per depth of target took at Sharp Football Stats, you can see both were largely underwhelming. Allen’s sample (489 attempts) is much larger, which masks a bit of Bridgewater’s high marks downfield. He threw just 7.1% of his passes 20-plus yardsbeyond the line of scrimmage, which ranked ahead of just Drew Lock and Jimmy Garoppolo among quarterbacks who attempted at least 100 passes on the season.
Where Bridgewater thrives is in the short area. His 6.1-yard average depth of target and 4.8 air yards per completion were the lowest in the NFL in 2019. That bodes well for Christian McCaffrey to sustain his dominance as a pass catcher. Since entering the league in 2017, only Michael Thomas (378) and DeAndre Hopkins (315) have more receptions than McCaffrey (303).
We just saw D.J. Moore survive subpar quarterback play, posting 87-1,175-4 on 135 targets in his second year at age 22. Moore may still remain a better option in PPR formats if his touchdown numbers can’t be elevated by Bridgewater, but remains a high floor option.
The intriguing player here is Curtis Samuel entering his fourth season. His year three take-off was grounded by just 59.2% of his targets deemed catchable per Pro Football Focus, the lowest rate of any receiver with 100 targets on the season. Samuel was pigeonholed as a downfield target by the previous regime, but his profile coming out of college was more of a Swiss Army Knife. If Rhule and Brady are going to keep him in that archetype of player, he’s not going to thrive with Bridgewater, but can be a yards after the catch creator if the offensive plan is to accentuate what Bridgewater does best near the line of scrimmage. The main issue there is if that would then cut into Moore’s (and Ian Thomas’s) opportunities while also raising the question on how viable do we believe Bridgewater is at sustaining multiple pass catchers in an offense. I would still have Samuel as the third-best passing option with a potentially limited passer.