After Signing Bridgewater, Panthers’ Odds to Win NFC South Still Listed at +2500

Carolina Panthers
Teddy Bridgewater will take over as the Carolina Panthers starting QB after agreeing to a 3-year, $60 million contract. Photo by @Sportsline (Twitter).
  • Carolina’s NFC South odds have been lengthened after signing Teddy Bridgewater
  • Bridgewater was 5-0 as a starter last season in New Orleans and is 22-12 in 34 career starts
  • See the updated odds to win the NFC South Division below

Teddy Bridgewater is in and Cam Newton appears to be out as the winds of change continue to blow through Carolina. Bridgewater has agreed to a three-year contract worth $60 million with the Panthers, but does his addition help or hurt Carolina’s chances to win the NFC South?

2020 NFC South Odds

Team Odds at BetOnline
New Orleans Saints -225
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +300
Atlanta Falcons +700
Carolina Panthers +2500

Odds taken on Mar. 17. For all teams visit the sportsbook

In the eyes of oddsmakers at least, the switch to Bridgewater from Newton doesn’t bode well for the Panthers. Their 2020 NFL divisional odds opened at +2000 on March 16th, but that number was lengthened to +2500 just 24 hours later.

Teddy’s former team, the New Orleans Saints, are heavy favorites to win the NFC South, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also drawing plenty of attention now that they’re favored to land Tom Brady.

Is Bridgewater an Upgrade Over Newton?

Bridgewater was 5-0 as a starter last season in New Orleans, filling in when Drew Brees was hurt. He led the Saints to impressive wins over the Cowboys and Seahawks, but his 2019 stats don’t exactly pop off the page.

He had a 9-2 TD-to-INT ratio but threw for only 153.8 yards per game. His 6.1-yard average depth of throw was the lowest in the NFL among qualified QB’s and just 21% of his passes traveled more than 10 yards.

As the Vikings starter in 2014 and 2015 he compiled a 17-11 record while ranking top-17 in Pro Football Focus’ passer grade in each season. Respectable numbers, but a far cry from peak Newton.

Cam was more than a little surprised by the Bridgewater signing. The former number one overall pick has battled a long list of injuries over the past few years, but his rehab of the foot problem that knocked him out of 2019 is proceeding well and he expected to be ready for June’s mini-camp.

Newton was the 2015 MVP, and if healthy, is still capable of leading a high powered offense. His dual-threat ability is a skillset that Bridgewater can’t replicate, and it’s easy to argue that Newton gives the Panthers a better chance for success.

Of course, that is all contingent on health, but regardless of Cam’s situation, Carolina has made plenty of moves to suggest they’re going into rebuild mode.

Will 2020 Be a Lost Season?

The Panthers offseason got off to a rocky start with the retirement of Luke Kuechly, the heart and soul of their defense. Carolina has since traded away Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner, released Greg Olsen and now moved on from Cam Newton.

They’ve also elected to not re-sign number one cornerback James Bradberry and 2019 sack leader Mario Addison. The offensive skill position players, led by Christian McCaffrey, are still intact but this doesn’t look like a team that is ready to compete for a division title.

The Panthers Will Lack Bite

Carolina holds the seventh pick in next month’s draft, and have reportedly not ruled out taking a quarterback. If that’s the case, Bridgewater will be nothing more than a stop-gap option.

Yes, he’s an upgrade over Kyle Allen from a season ago, but not over a healthy Newton. His signing shouldn’t make the Panthers any more appealing and in fact the oddsmakers’ are probably correct in making them even more of a division longshot.

Bridgewater’s game won’t be taking the Panthers’ offense to the next level, and with their defense already depleted, a winning season in Carolina doesn’t look promising.

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