On Wednesday, the Carolina Panthers traded quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the Denver Broncos for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft. This may be a surprise development for a few people but in reality, it isn't. Let's start from the beginning.
After Cam Newton left the Panthers, Teddy Bridgewater signed a three-year, $63 million deal in the 2020 NFL offseason. Some believed that was the path that head coach Matt Rhule would take as he took over the reins. The veteran quarterback failed to impress in his debut season with the Panthers, throwing for 3,733 yards with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
On April 5, 2021, the Panthers acquired quarterback Sam Darnold from the New York Jets in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2021 and a second- and fourth-round pick in 2022.
Now that the Panthers have traded Bridgewater just a year into his contract, it seems that Darnold will be the starter and the team will perhaps build depth later in the draft. But the Panthers are yet to exercise the fifth-year team option in Sam Darnold's contract and haven't even commented on whether they plan on doing so.
This seems like a hint that Darnold is a temporary solution at the quarterback position and that the franchise drafting a quarterback is on the horizon.
Which quarterback will the Carolina Panthers draft?
As of right now, the Carolina Panthers have the eighth overall pick in the NFL draft. This year's draft class is filled with outstanding quarterbacks and teams looking to draft one to build their franchise around will have plenty of options to work with.
Former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is a player that definitely seems to fit the Panthers' organization.
A Georgia native, Fields transferred from the University of Georgia to Ohio State after his freshman season so he could see more playing time. At Ohio State, he won the Big Ten Championships in 2019 and 2020.
In 2020, Fields and the Buckeyes defeated the Clemson Tigers, led by the projected top pick in the 2021 NFL draft, Trevor Lawrence, in the College Football Playoffs.
Fields threw for 385 passing yards and six touchdowns in a 49-28 mauling of Clemson to lead the Buckeyes to a National Championship appearance in 2020.
He is a dual-threat quarterback who works well in the pocket and is electric when running with the ball as well. In his two seasons at Ohio State, he went 20-2 with 63 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing touchdowns.
He is noted as a leader on and off the field by his coaches and teammates alike, which would be a great asset to a young and rebuilding team.