Teddy Bridgewater shoots down Panthers rebuild, tanking 2020 season in hopes for better draft pick

The Carolina Panthers moved on from the best era in franchise history over the past few months, culminated with the release of all-time passing leader Cam Newton. Carolina decided to cut ties with Newton when the franchise signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $63 million contract, giving the former Pro Bowl quarterback a starting opportunity he hasn’t had since his days with the Minnesota Vikings. 

Bridgewater isn’t planning on being the bridge quarterback for the next signal caller, saying he wasn’t hired by Carolina to do anything but win games.

“I’m a winner,” Bridgewater said, per ESPN’s David Newton. “Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve won, and I take pride in that. That’s the reason I’m in games, to win. I’ll just leave it at that. I’m just going to tell you right now I’m a winner and plan on continuing to be one.”

The Panthers revamped their team this offseason, which goes much farther than releasing Newton. Carolina moved on from tight end Greg Olsen and safety Eric Reid and also allowed James Bradberry, defensive end Mario Addison, and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to walk in free agency. 

Conventional wisdom would suggest the Panthers are tanking in 2020 in the first year of a rebuild, perhaps bettering their chances to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence in 2021. Don’t suggest that to Bridgewater. 

“Man, I take pride in this,” Bridgewater said on the Panthers potentially tanking. “They told me I wouldn’t play football again and I did. They told me it would take 18 months to get back from my injury and I came back fast. They told me I wouldn’t win last year and we won five games.

“I take pride in winning. Winning feels good, and that’s our goal.”

Carolina revamped its wide receiver group, signing Robby Anderson, Pharoh Cooper, DeAndrew White, Seth Roberts and Keith Kirkwood to add to the pass-catching tandem of D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel. The Panthers also have Christian McCaffrey in the fold, giving Bridgewater all the weapons he needs to succeed on offense. 

Bridgewater completed 67.9% of his passes, throwing for 1,384 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions (99.1 passer rating) with the Saints last season, going 5-0 in his five starts filling in for Drew Brees. The Panthers put a serious investment in Bridgewater, who isn’t planning on letting the ship sink before the season even starts. 

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