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CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 13: Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the Carolina Panthers looks on prior to their game against the Denver Broncos at Bank of America Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
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Clayton: Bridgewater to the Broncos could mirror Osweiler to the Browns

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Doesn’t the Teddy Bridgewater situation remind you of the Brock Osweiler story.

Osweiler was a second-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2012. He did some good things, but John Elway was able to recruit Peyton Manning to the quarterback that got the team to two Super Bowls.

In 2016, Osweiler went to the Houston Texans after signing a four-year, $72 million contract. The Texans found out he wasn’t very good. It wasn’t long that Texans wanted to get out of the deal, but he had $37 million guaranteed. The Texans had to scramble.

In one of the strangest trades of the past decade, the Texans found a Cleveland Browns team that was willing to take on Osweiler’s contract. To do that, Houston had to pay a heavy price.

The Texans had to throw in a 2018 seventh-round pick along with a sixth-round pick in 2017 to unload this contract. The Browns had the cap room and Cleveland only had to give up a fourth-round compensatory pick.

That’s right, the Texans had to give the Browns more in draft choice compensation than the Browns had to give the Texans just to get rid of Osweiler.

On Monday, the Carolina Panthers traded for Sam Darnold. Last year, they signed Bridgewater to a three-year, $63 million. Owner David Tepper apparently didn’t think the Bridgewater signing was a good move. He pushed for a Deshuwn Watson trade. But when he realized that wasn’t going to work, he went for Darnold.

Bridgewater got $33 million guaranteed in his contract. Cutting him or trading him would cause a $20 million hit on the Panthers salary cap this year. That’s not going to happen.

So, Carolina gave Bridgewater the chance to talk to other teams about a trade. He’s scheduled to make a little under $20 million over the next two years.

To move him in a trade, the Panthers would get hardly anything in trade value and they might have to pay a good portion of the remaining guarantees. There are no guarantees next year, so a team can get him, pay him to $18 million he’s owed this year, and maybe after the trade they could ask him to cut his salary. At the very least, Bridgewater knows he’s going to make at least $10 million this year.

Which brings up the idea of the Broncos bringing Bridgewater in to challenge Drew Lock.

George Paton was with the Vikings when Bridgewater was drafted in the first round in 2014. He knows him better than anyone.

If the money is right, he could be an option for Denver. That would mean a deal is on the Broncos terms, like it was for the Browns when they bailed out the Texans.

The Panthers only have to pay Darnold $4.774 million. It might be in the best interest of the Panthers to pay the Broncos $10 million to unload Bridgewater’s contract.