DENVER — As promised, George Paton delivered competition in the quarterback room, while not closing the door on the future at that the position.
According to a source, the Broncos have acquired Teddy Bridgewater for a sixth round pick in this year's draft, and will pay the veteran $3 million in salary with the Panthers absorbing $7 million.
It essentially leaves Bridgewater on a one-year deal with the Broncos.
"Acquiring Teddy Bridgewater adds competition, experience, and a strong veteran presence to our quarterback room. He’s a talented player and leader who has had success in this league in a number of different situations," Broncos Paton said. "Being familiar with Teddy from Minnesota, he’s going to compete and do everything he can to help us win.”
This also allows the Broncos to enter the draft with flexibility with the ninth pick overall. Multiple sources told Denver7 the Broncos could still take a quarterback in the first round -- Justin Fields appears the slight favorite on their board followed by Mac Jones and Trey Lance — but they don't necessarily have to with Bridgewater in the fold.
This could go three directions:
--Draft a prospect, and keep three quarterbacks -- Bridgewater, Drew Lock and rookie.
--Draft a prospect and stick with two quarterbacks -- Bridgewater and the rookie.
--Don't draft a quarterback and move forward with Bridgewater and Lock.
The issue with the latter plan is that neither Bridgewater or Lock played well last season. Bridgewater posted a 4-11 record, throwing for 3,733 yards with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Carolina was so disappointed after signing him to a three-year, $63 million contract that they traded for Sam Darnold two weeks ago. In his second season, Lock finished with the league's lowest completion percentage and tied for tops in interceptions.
Bridgewater is known for his leadership, toughness and ability to manage games. Paton worked with the Vikings when they selected Bridgewater in the first round in 2014. He played well before suffering a near-career-ending knee injury. He found a home with the Saints as a backup, and went 5-0 as a starter in 2019 while subbing for the injured Drew Brees.
The Broncos have been trying to acquire Bridgewater for a month, wanting a veteran in hand before the draft. The money issues made it take longer before the sides finally bridged the gap.