After a rollercoaster first NFL season as the Carolina Panthers quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater renegotiated his contract with Carolina before being traded to the Denver Broncos. How did Bridgewater’s contract look before the trade, and how does it shape up in terms of salary cap numbers after the new deal was signed?
Teddy Bridgewater signed a three-year contract in Carolina in 2020
After spending two seasons with the New Orleans Saints as Drew Brees’ backup, Bridgewater hit free agency in 2020. He signed a three-year contract in Carolina worth $63 million. Within the contract, there was $33 million guaranteed, with a $15 million signing bonus.
Teddy Bridgewater had two years remaining on his contract prior to the trade
The three-year contract that Bridgewater signed in Carolina was set to keep him with the Panthers until 2022. The 2021 season would have been the second year of the contract, leaving him with one more year remaining on the deal following the 2021 season. Additionally, 2021 was set to be the final season that Bridgewater has guaranteed money on his deal.
However, the Panthers traded Bridgewater to the Broncos for the 191st selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. As part of the deal, Bridgewater’s contract was re-worked by the Panthers. Carolina will pay Bridgewater a $7 million bonus, leaving $3 million in salary for the Broncos to pay this season.
What impact does Bridgewater have on the Panthers’ salary cap in 2021?
Bridgewater’s 2021 cap number was set to $22.95 million. Base salary was set to make up $17 million of that, with $5 million in the prorated signing bonus, $0.7 million in per-game roster bonuses, and $0.25 million in workout bonus.
Following the renegotiation of the deal and the trade, Bridgewater leaves $17 million in dead cap for Carolina in 2021. Of that dead money, $7 million comes in the form of the new signing bonus. The remaining $10 million is the final two years of his prorated $15 million signing bonus.
Bridgewater’s departure leaves the Panthers starting QB job open for Sam Darnold. The fourth-year QB was traded to the Panthers earlier this offseason. After the Panthers picked up the fifth-year option, Darnold’s contract has two more years remaining. He is set to be a free agent after the 2022 NFL season.
What impact does Bridgewater’s new contract have on the Broncos’ salary cap in 2021?
As part of acquiring Bridgewater, the Broncos take on $3 million in base salary. That money is reportedly fully guaranteed. Therefore, even if Bridgewater is cut ahead of the season, his contract will still cost the Broncos $3 million in cap space in 2021. Bridgewater’s deal is now a one-year deal with the 2022 portion voided. That means that at the end of the season, the Broncos can move on from Bridgewater with no remaining cap implications.
Bridgewater is now set to compete with Drew Lock for the starting QB role. Lock is entering the final year of his contract with the Broncos. As a result, the Broncos could find themselves looking for a new starting QB in 2022.