Panthers to sign Teddy Bridgewater to replace Newton

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The Carolina Panthers are moving on from Cam Newton and have already found a replacement.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Panthers are finalizing a contract with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to be their starter, per sources informed of the deal.

It's a three-year deal worth $63 million, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported, per a source. Bridgewater will receive $33 million fully guaranteed at signing and $24 million in his first year in Carolina.

It's a quick reversal for the Panthers, who just weeks ago insisted they wanted to keep Newton in Carolina. On Tuesday, the team announced it agreed to let the 2015 NFL MVP seek a trade, an announcement Newton subsequently said was forced upon him.

With the Newton drama swirling, Bridgewater steps in to fill the void.

The New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were reported to be interested in Bridgewater, but the Panthers swooped in to secure the former Vikings and Saints signal-caller.

Still just 27 years old, the former first-round pick has rehabbed his way after a devastating knee injury that threatened to end his career in 2016.

Bridgewater spent the past two seasons in New Orleans backing up Drew Brees. He started five games in 2019 -- all wins -- proving he's fully back and can be a full-time starting quarterback once again.

The time in New Orleans was key for Bridgewater landing in Carolina. In 2018, the quarterback worked with Joe Brady, who was an offensive assistant under Sean Payton at the time. Brady then left last season to help LSU win a college national championship.

Now Brady is in Carolina as the offensive coordinator under first-year coach Matt Rhule.

Bridgewater's experience with Brady, and in the Saints system, which the new OC employed to a certain degree at LSU, should help the transition as the Panthers revamp their entire operation.

Bridgewater completed 67.9 percent of his passes last season in New Orleans, averaging 7.1 yards per attempt with nine TDs and two INTs. During his five starts, Teddy B showed an ability to get the ball out quick, which could play well with the offensive weapons in Carolina, including running back Christian McCaffrey and receiver D.J. Moore's skill sets. With Bridgewater's propensity to check down quickly, McCaffrey is in for another massive year in Carolina.

Bridgewater didn't threaten deep much last season in New Orleans, instead, working in the framework of the offense, to get targets the ball quickly. He did, however, make enough splash plays to show he can still put the ball on the money when needed. How the deep-ball works in Brady's offense -- especially with a speedy threat like Curtis Samuel on the outside -- will be something to keep an eye on in Carolina early in the campaign.

Since his 2016 injury, Bridgewater has been searching for a team to give him a chance to once again be a starting NFL quarterback.

That part of the journey is over for Teddy Two Gloves. He's found his home in Carolina.

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