4 big decisions that backfired on the Panthers in 2020

(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Rhule
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater /

Giving Teddy Bridgewater a three-year deal

The Carolina Panthers were well within their right to move on from Cam Newton in favor of Teddy Bridgewater. Changes like this normally occur when a new regime is brought in and even though the 2015 NFL MVP’s time with the organization will never be forgotten, how his departure was handled left a sour taste in the mouth.

Despite the obvious COVID-19 concerns hampering preparations before the 2020 season, Bridgewater’s familiarity with Joe Brady’s scheme left plenty of reasons to be encouraged regarding his ability to hit the ground running.

He didn’t start poorly by any stretch of the imagination. But his level of play down the stretch has plunged his future with the franchise into doubt.

Bridgewater just didn’t get it done when it mattered most. The former Louisville standout went 0-8 on game-winning or tying drives this season, which was just one frustrating element of his production.

Considering that Bridgewater hadn’t been a prominent starter since 2015, giving him a three-year contract looks even more questionable now that it did at the time. This was a considerable gamble that hasn’t really paid off and it has left the Panthers in a sticky situation with no out on his deal until 2022.

They could still take a quarterback of the future in the 2021 NFL Draft and let them develop next year until it’s more financially viable to release Bridgewater. But this is a situation that Carolina could have avoided.