It's official. Drew Lock is out and Teddy Bridgewater is in.
Teddy Bridgewater has won the quarterback competition and will start for the Denver Broncos in 2021. The implications of the move are massive for the franchise. What does it mean for 2021? What does it mean going forward?
Here's a look at the short and long-term implications of the move.
How Drew Lock's exit affects the team now
With Lock out of the picture, the team will place their hopes on Teddy Bridgewater, who went 5-11 last year as the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. By removing Lock and inserting Bridgewater, the Broncos are returning to a more conservative style of offense.
Drew Lock was a notorious gunslinger who was unafraid to throw interceptions even after the game was in the bag. Bridgewater is much different, as he is more likely to take the checkdown option. The change may mean an offense that puts more emphasis on other players over the quarterback.
With Bridgewater, the Broncos are expecting checkdowns that will turn into big gains after the catch. Expect Bridgewater to throw less than ten yards down the field on most plays.
Drew Lock will stick around for 2021 as a backup quarterback. He may get a shot at redemption if the season goes sideways for Bridgewater or if there is an injury. In the meantime, Lock will need to bide his time and wait for his next shot. It seems likely Lock will get one at some point, even if it's not in Denver.
Overall, the move was the correct one for the franchise and could result in the Broncos making a playoff push this year. Bridgewater has won in the NFL before when surrounded by the right players. He made the playoffs early in his career with the Minnesota Vikings. He also went 5-0 in relief of Drew Brees when he was with the New Orleans Saints.
Basically, when he's surrounded by a solid roster, like in Minnesota and in New Orleans, he can win games. When he's surrounded by a rough roster like he was in Carolina, he cannot win games on his own. Considering the Broncos' well-known talent at seemingly every position besides quarterback, things are looking up for Bridgewater.
The Broncos have Justin Simmons, Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Courtland Sutton, Melvin Gordon, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, Noah Fant and others in shape for a solid year. Suffice to say, Bridgewater has plenty of talent around him to succeed in 2021. But what happens in 2022?
How Drew Lock's exit affects the team in 2022
By sitting Drew Lock, the Broncos are rewriting their plans for 2022 and beyond. The hope was that Lock would be the starter for the next 20 years. Instead, the team will be looking for a replacement. However, before the search begins, the Broncos need to play 2021.
If the Broncos have a solid year and make the playoffs for the first time in half a decade, the big question will be: what's next? Will the Broncos be happy enough with Bridgewater to steer clear of a new quarterback in the NFL draft? Will Denver be in the running for Aaron Rodgers?
Of course, if Denver has a good season, the odds of getting a top-tier rookie quarterback would likely be out of the picture. If the Broncos have a bottom-ten draft pick, it will be too expensive to jump into the top five to land the next big name. Essentially, Denver may find itself in quarterback purgatory.
Teddy Bridgewater may be good enough to give Broncos fans entertaining seasons every year, but probably not good enough to win a Lombardi. However, after five years without a playoff spot, do the Broncos want to jeopardize potential stability for a shot at the big game?
Remember, the Broncos will still have to face Patrick Mahomes for the next 15 years. Any Super Bowl run will have to run through the team in red along with Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Lastly, don't forget about the Las Vegas Raiders, who are coming off an 8-8 season and may be poised to gain stability for the first time in a lifetime.