Can the Broncos Finally Take The Next Step With Teddy Bridgewater? By Ryan Kanne

 

Image via NOLA.COM

 

The Denver Broncos put weeks of rumors to an end by trading a sixth-round draft pick to the Carolina Panthers for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The former first round pick is now on his third team in three seasons as he looks to compete for the starting job against Drew Lock or a rookie if the Broncos select a QB in the draft.

 

Immediately after the trade was confirmed, reports came out that the Broncos could still take a top QB in the NFL Draft. This is possible since the Broncos will only be paying $3 million of Bridgewater’s $10 million salary. The final year of his contract has also been voided by the Broncos, making Bridgewater’s deal only for 2021.

 

So far, it seems Bridgewater’s Broncos career won’t last beyond this season. If the Broncos draft a top QB, it won’t take too many mediocre games for fans and the front office to start thinking about a change. The best scenario for Bridgewater would be if the Broncos enter 2021 with a QB competition between himself and Lock.

 

Between those two, Bridgewater was much better than Lock in 2020. That’s not saying much as Lock was considered one of the worst starting QBs in the NFL. If Bridgewater can bring average QB play, the impact could mean a revitalized offense in Denver.

 

 

Passing YDS

TD/ INT

Completion %

Passer Rating

Teddy Bridgewater (2020)

3733

15/ 11

69.1 %

92.1

Drew Lock (2020)

2933

16/ 15

57.3

75.4

 

While Bridgewater’s better play didn’t lead to more than four wins in 2020, he would have a much better situation with the Broncos. The Panthers have a solid offensive core, but Christian McCaffrey only played in three games which left the offense without their best player. The Panthers would end the season 18th in passing yards and 21st in rushing yards.

 

The Broncos offense didn’t do much better than the Panthers, finishing 13th in rushing yards and 26th in passing yards. However, the Broncos have a ton of potential with a solid rushing game with Courtland Sutton, Jerry Juedy, and Noah Fant as pass catchers.

 

Jeudy could breakout in a big way entering his second season. The former Alabama wide receiver impressed with his advanced route running without much production. His 52 receptions and 865 receiving yards were solid, but his potential could lead to his first 1000-yard season.

 

Fant could also see a boost if the Broncos can improve in the red zone. The Broncos finished 2020 with only 2.8 red zone trips per game to go along with a 53% red zone scoring percentage. Both marks were in the bottom six teams in the NFL. Any improvement in the red zone starts with Fant. While Courtland Sutton is recovering from a knee injury that kept him out almost all of 2020, Fant will have to be the big body receiver for a time at the tight end position.

 

While there certainly is a blueprint for the Broncos to rebound from a 5-11 season, the biggest obstacle in their way is the AFC West. Outside of the obvious having to face the Kansas City Chiefs twice a year, the division in general seems to be improving or on the verge of a playoff push. The Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers, which are still weird to write for me, finished 8-8 and 7-9 respectively.

 

The Raiders are entering their fourth season with Jon Gruden as coach and haven’t accomplished much since. Their first playoff appearance since 2016 doesn’t seem far away. The same can be said for the Chargers entering QB Justin Herbert’s sophomore season. Both teams must see improvements from their defense before being feared around the NFL, but they will be tough competition to top in the division.

 

While the Bridgewater trade feels like it should be bigger news and make a bigger impact than it does, the Broncos put themselves into a situation where Bridgewater could a be a veteran backup. Whether he plays significant time or not, Bridgewater should help the Broncos improve an offense loaded with potential.

 

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