Updated at 10:20 a.m. with news the Carolina Panthers are willing to trade Cam Newton
Tom Brady is leaving the New England Patriots. Typing that sentence alone is weird. It’s going to be even weirder watching him play in a stadium with a pirate ship or for a team that recently played its games at a soccer field.
This is a monumental moment in NFL history, no doubt. But the trickle-down effect will absolutely reach the Bears as this year’s quarterback market comes into focus, even if we have to play the waiting game now:
My understanding is that there will be no other Brady announcements today.— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) March 17, 2020
Still, here’s how Brady’s departure will effect the Bears’ chances of getting any of these quarterbacks.
Teddy Bridgewater: Will the Patriots pursue him now? Will the loser of the Brady sweepstakes — which right now appears to be either the Buccaneers or Chargers — take the $30-ish million they were ready to give to TB12 and allocate a large chunk of it to TB5? The best-case here for the Bears is that the Patriots don’t want Bridgewater and the Buccaneers get Brady. Maybe Bridgewater will shy away from the Chargers given their potential desire to draft a quarterback.
Also, the Panthers look like they're making a push for Bridgewater, too:
The Carolina Panthers are showing very strong interest in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater per sources. I’m told the conversations have been going very well. #panthers— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 17, 2020
Cam Newton: A new addition! The Panthers announced Tuesday they're giving Newton permission to seek a trade shortly after Brady dropped the bomb that he's leaving New England. If the Bears are interested in trading for the 2015 MVP, they might have some competition from the Patriots, Chargers and Bucs. So where Brady winds up likely will impact the market for Newton.
Andy Dalton: He’s been connected with the Patriots by some who figured he’d be an ideal replacement if Brady moved on. Cincinnati would be smart to hold out for the best pick possible in a trade and see if the Patriots could beat whatever potential offer the Bears might make. There’s a possibility Brady leaving New England just made it harder for the Bears to deal for Dalton, which might be a good thing, depending on your perspective.
Nick Foles: Same deal as Dalton, though he doesn’t seem to make as much sense as a stop-gap in New England.
Jameis Winston: If you’re looking for a true best-case for the Bears, it’s the Buccaneers and Chargers signing Brady and Winston — doesn’t matter where each specifically goes — and the Patriots trading for Dalton. Where else would Bridgewater go at that point? The Bears should be extremely wary of pursuing Winston, who has a history of alleged sexual assault and threw 30 interceptions last year.
Derek Carr: The Raiders reportedly came to an agreement with Marcus Mariota Monday night, which doesn’t necessarily rule them out on Brady. But they haven’t been as strongly connected to Brady as the Bucs or Chargers lately, and just might be set in 2020, dashing Bears’ fans dreams of landing Carr in a trade.