There is no room for sentiment in today’s NFL. But it’s easy to forget that this was the first time that Teddy Bridgewater had occupied a prominent starting position since 2015.
He was one of the league’s up and coming signal-callers and looked set for a bold Super Bowl bid with the Minnesota Vikings before a freak training camp injury left his career in tatters and resulted in Mike Zimmer’s men finishing 8-8.
Bridgewater deserves an enormous amount of credit for coming back from the brink. He almost lost his leg but somehow managed to get back under center for the Vikings before both parties went their separate ways.
A short stint with the New York Jets was followed by a trade to the New Orleans Saints, where he backed up Drew Brees and even went 5-0 in the legendary player’s absence in 2019. This was a key component behind the Carolina Panthers giving him a three-year, $63 million deal with a $15 million signing bonus and $33 million guaranteed last year.
The gamble hasn’t paid off.
But there was always going to be some rust.
Couple this with a disrupted preparation period during COVID-19 and a knee injury that kept Bridgewater off the field for one game, and there were plenty of extenuating circumstances behind his first season in Carolina that left more questions than answers.
Which available free agents could fit the mold of what Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule looks for in a potential recruit this spring?
Whether he’ll get another chance remains to be seen. But as far as Bridgewater’s career goes, it might be a little too soon to write him off completely.