Coach Matt Rhule confirmed that the Panthers are allowing Bridgewater to seek a trade, but the team is in no hurry to make a move with its former starting quarterback.
"Teddy's still a member of this team," Rhule said. "It's been documented that our organization gave his representation to talk with some other people. So I think we're just gonna have to let that play out and see where it stands. I think you guys all know how I feel about Teddy as a professional, as a person. I believe he can win as a quarterback in this league. I believe that he can move the ball and do good things. I believe that whatever situation he walks into, he's going to walk in with a great attitude. In terms of what will happen, I honestly would have to say we'll have to wait and see how things play out over the coming weeks for him and for us."
Rhule's positive comments about Bridgewater do nothing to shade over the fact that the coach had been seeking an upgrade at the QB position since the end of the regular season. It was clear the Panthers wanted to move on. The trade for Darnold, who struggled through his three seasons in New York but offers more upside than Teddy Two Gloves, underscored the plan.
During his introductory press conference, Darnold said that he hasn't spoken to Bridgewater since the trade went down.
Rhule wouldn't commit to Darnold as the starter in Week 1, though given the three draft picks traded away, including a second-rounder in 2022, it'd be a stunner if the former No. 3 overall pick wasn't the opening day starter. Rhule also added that selecting a QB could still be on the table with the No. 8 overall pick this season.
The Panthers have insisted since the Darnold trade that Bridgewater could still be part of the organization in 2021. The realities of that happening seem unlikely, despite the positive comments about the veteran.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week that multiple teams have been interested in potentially trading for Bridgewater.
Carolina could hold onto Bridgewater until later this summer in hopes to potentially maximize return on a potential starter if an injury should strike -- as happened to Teddy and the Vikings on that fateful August day in 2016, which led to Minnesota trading a first-round pick for Sam Bradford. Any trade for Bridgewater would likely come with the QB reworking his contract to fit a new team.