The incumbent starter is now searching for a potential new home that might give him a better shot to start.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Panthers granted the QB ability to talk with teams to potentially facilitate a trade, per sources informed of the situation.
As Panthers GM Scott Fitterer noted Monday following the Darnold trade, the club wouldn't rule out Bridgewater returning. Rapoport previously indicated that the club could try to adjust the QB's contract if a trade can't get worked out.
With Bridgewater due $17 million in base salary in 2021 ($10 million guaranteed) and $20 million in 2022, it's likely any club considering trading for the veteran signal-caller would also seek to restructure his contract.
Allowing Bridgewater's representatives to reach out to other teams regarding a trade could help bridge the gap where contract issues are concerned.
There aren't any logical landing spots for Bridgewater where he'd be considered a sure-fire starter, but teams like Denver could use veteran options to compete. The Broncos want competition for Drew Lock, and new GM George Paton knows Bridgewater from their time together in Minnesota.
The Panthers have insisted that they can still bring Bridgewater back this season, even with Darnold in-house. The truth is Matt Rhule has been looking to move on from the incumbent since the end of the season. If a trade can't get worked out, the Panthers could cut the 28-year-old QB and allow him the freedom to select his next destination without Carolina recouping any compensation.
However it turns out, the Darnold trade made it clear Bridgewater's run in Carolina is nearing the end.