The Carolina Panthers starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater struggled this year after signing a three-year, $63 million contract this past offseason. After getting benched in the Panthers final game, is it time for Carolina to move on?
Bridgewater went 4-11 this year as the Panthers starter. Even though the team was missing perhaps their biggest offensive weapon in Christian McCaffrey, they lost six games by a seven-point or less margin. The Panthers lacked the ability to close out game winning drives with Bridgewater at the helm. There wasn’t a single fourth quarter comeback or game-winning drive this year for the Panthers with Bridgewater as the starter.
Bridgewater did manage to have some statistical success this season. He proved to be an accurate passer completing 69% of his passes. His total QBR of 64.1 was good for 17th in the league among qualifying quarterbacks as well. However, Bridgewater only threw 15 touchdowns to 11 interceptions, but did manage to add 3,733 yards through the air.
As the Houston Texans continue to contemplate the best route for their quarterback in Deshaun Watson, it has been rumored that the Carolina Panthers could be “in the mix” when it comes to trade talks. Watson has not formally requested a trade, but there is a widespread belief the team will move on.
Still, the best scenario for the Panthers would be to keep Bridgewater as a bridge quarterback and select one in the draft.
The draft is full of impressive prospects at quarterback this year, even if you take out Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. Since the Panthers have the eighth overall pick, they have to spend it on a quarterback this year and can’t afford to wait.
In the first round of the NFL Draft, there are two quarterbacks that would make sense for the Panthers with the eight pick: Zach Wilson from BYU and Trey Lance from North Dakota State.
Wilson had an impressive Junior season, throwing for 33 touchdowns to only three interceptions. He also proved to be dangerous on his feet, adding 10 rushing touchdowns. BYU went 11-1 this year with Wilson as the starter, proving he is a winner at the college level.
However, Lance has only played one game this year, with the FCS pushing their season back till the spring. His Sophomore season last year was unreal to say the least. He threw 28 touchdowns to zero interceptions. He also rushed for 1,100 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. In his lone game this year, Lance threw for two touchdowns to one interception.
The Panthers could also wait until the second round and draft Alabama’s Mac Jones or Florida’s Kyle Trask. Both quarterbacks, who performed well this season, would be first round draft picks in other less impressive draft classes.
The best case scenario would be for the Panthers to keep Bridgewater in a mentor role and go out and get their quarterback of the future. There is just too much talent to pass up in this year’s draft and the Panthers need to capitalize on their high draft pick.