After his career almost ended with the Minnesota Vikings, Teddy Bridgewater is getting another shot to be a franchise quarterback with the Carolina Panthers.
With Teddy Bridgewater still on the board at the end of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings knew they had to make a move to land the former Louisville quarterback.
Bridgewater was a proven winner at Louisville and the Vikings saw enough in him to trade for the final pick in the first round and draft a guy they felt could lead their team to the promised land.
After helping Minnesota earn a playoff berth during his first full season as their starting quarterback in 2015, Bridgewater seemed to be heading on the right path to becoming the franchise’s next great passer. That was until a freak accident in the summer of 2016 put the brakes on his career in the NFL.
Bridgewater suffered a brutal knee injury during a Vikings practice that immediately knocked him out for the entire 2016 season. Not only was his future with Minnesota put into question on that horrible day, but his chances of playing football ever again didn’t appear to be very high.
Despite the gigantic challenge that was placed in front of him, Bridgewater did everything he could to rehab his injured knee and he eventually found his way back on the field in a Vikings uniform midway through the 2017 season.
It was a great story and if his time in the NFL came to a close after his final year with Minnesota, his efforts would have still been viewed as an accomplishment. But Bridgewater wasn’t even close to reaching the goals he had in mind.
He ended up signing with the New York Jets in 2018 and after some impressive preseason performances, he was dealt to the New Orleans Saints. Bridgewater has spent his last two years in the league with the Saints and in 2019 he got the opportunity to prove he was still worthy of being a starting quarterback in the NFL.
He started five games for New Orleans last season and he led them to wins in each of them. His breakout performance came in the Saints’ Week 5 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when he threw for 314 yards, four touchdowns, and just one interception.
So given what he did in New Orleans last season and the fact that he’s still only 27-years-old, it wasn’t very surprising when the Carolina Panthers signed when free agency began last week. The surprise was how much money the Panthers gave him as they agreed to a three-year, $63 million deal with Bridgewater.
This isn’t the kind of money a team gives to someone they’re just bringing in to compete for a job. Carolina brought Bridgewater in to be their starter for next season and this was proven even further on Tuesday when the franchise announced the release of longtime starting quarterback, Cam Newton.
The Panthers are not only giving Bridgewater the chance to be their new starter under center. They’re hoping he can be like Newton and get the franchise back to the Super Bowl.
The fact that Bridgewater even has this opportunity with Carolina after that terrible day back in the summer of 2016 is incredible and there is no other way to describe it.