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The Carolina Panthers unloaded Teddy Bridgewater Wednesday in a pre-draft trade to the Denver Broncos. A move that signals the potential of newly-acquired Sam Darnold taking over as the starter and puts the Panthers’ former QB in an ideal situation for next season.

While Denver only gave a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to acquire Bridgewater, Carolina also wipes off a hit on his salary for next year. A win for both teams as “Touchdown Teddy” moves on to his own possible starting role with the Broncos.

“Acquiring Teddy Bridgewater adds competition, experience and a strong veteran presence to our quarterback room,” Denver Broncos GM George Paton said in a statement. “He’s a talented player and leader who’s had success in this league in a number of different situations.”

A low risk with the possibility for a reward with Bridgewater going to Denver on his original deal with a year remaining. There will be a 70-30 split with the Panthers paying out $7 million and Broncos picking up the remaining $3 million of Teddy’s salary, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

This also could mean the end of the Drew Lock era in Denver.

“With the Broncos GM George Paton deciding to bring in Teddy Bridgewater, it’s a sign that the Broncos organization is headed in the right direction under Paton’s leadership,” former NFL player and media personality Nick Ferguson said about the deal.

“It’s been well documented by the move for veteran QB Matthew Stafford that Paton wasn’t sold on John Elway’s second round draft choice, Drew Lock. The trade for Bridgewater shows that Paton isn’t afraid to make choices that his predecessor would never attempt.

“This also proves that Paton’s his own man, and he’s willing to go against the grain in a move to restore this once respected franchise back to glory,” Ferguson added.

Bridgewater heads to Denver with familiar faces ready to welcome him.

Paton played a major role in drafting the former NFL Rookie of the Year as the assistant GM for the Minnesota Vikings in 2014. Also, Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur joined the Vikings staff in 2016 and eventually took over play calling duties for Bridgewater and the offense and led them to an NFC Championship appearance the following year.

However, don’t be surprised if Denver takes a quarterback with the ninth overall pick tomorrow. The trade for Bridgewater doesn’t put them out of the market for a quarterback, but only adds depth at the position, according to  sources. Paton was also in attendance at several pro days in recent weeks with a focus on both Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.