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Von endorses 'healthy competition' Bridgewater brings to QB position

Bridgewater said he well-researched the Broncos as trade to Denver was in the works for months.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The acquisition of Teddy Bridgewater received a strong endorsement from the player who is still considered the best among Denver Broncos.

“When we got Teddy, I felt like that was a great move,’’ said Von Miller, the Broncos’ outside linebacker with a team-record 106.0 sacks despite missing the entire 2020 season with a torn ankle tendon. “Teddy’s ready to come in and play. Teddy’s ready to come in and compete. I think that’s what we need in the quarterback position.

“I’m not saying that this guy’s going to be the No. 1 guy, or this guy’s going to be the No. 1 guy. I’m not saying that yet, but we have a healthy quarterback competition that can only give us positive things out of that group.’’

Broncos general manager George Paton, who was part of a Minnesota Vikings’ football personnel team that traded back into the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to select Bridgewater with the No. 32 overall pick, started working on a trade for Bridgewater soon after he got Denver’s head gig in mid-January. The holdup was how to split up Bridgewater’s contract with the Carolina Panthers as Paton wanted the veteran to compete against incumbent starter Drew Lock, not necessarily replace him.

The trade was put on pause as Paton considered whether to make a move for one of the top quarterbacks in the draft.

Finally, a day before the draft on April 28, Paton landed his man after Carolina agreed to pay $7 million of Bridgewater’s $11.5 million compensation package for 2021. The Broncos invested good backup QB money -- $4.5 million – for Bridgewater. But they will wind up with a steal if Bridgewater beats out Lock and the Broncos win.

Credit: AP Photo/Jack Dempsey
Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5), throws during a Denver Broncos OTA at the team's headquarters Monday, May 24, 2021, in Englewood.

During those two or three months when Bridgewater thought there was a good chance he would be traded to Denver, he studied up on his possible future team.

“Yeah, I definitely did a lot of research on this team,’’ Bridgewater said via Zoom following his first OTA practice Monday. “I’m familiar with the roster. A talented defense, and a bunch of guys who fly around and make plays and have made plays in this league. You look at the offense, it’s a lot of guys who’ve established themselves or are continuing to establish themselves in this league. So much talent on this roster. You look at the coaching staff and the personnel with George being here from Minnesota.

“I was very excited a couple of months ago when I heard I could end up here. Now that I’m here, I’m eager to make this team a better team and be the best person I can be.”

On his first day with the Broncos, Bridgewater practiced like it was his first day. He missed a couple open receivers. He threw with touch but not much zip. 

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5), Brett Rypien (4) and quarterback Drew Lock (3) talk while stretching during Denver Broncos OTAs at the team's headquarters Monday, May 24, 2021, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Oh, by the way, Teddy. Welcome to playing quarterback in Denver, where the microscope is considerably more magnified than in other places.

“I’m sure there’s some rust and some uneasiness about exactly what we’re doing,'' said Broncos' coach Vic Fangio. "But I’m sure there is a lot of carryover to what he’s done at other places. I thought he had a good first day.”

As for beating out Lock, Bridgewater is keeping his competitive spirit away from his mouth. A welcome from his No. 1 endorser helped him there.

“I saw Von this morning when he came in the building,’’ Bridgewater said. “The first thing he said today was, ‘You’re here to play football now.’ That’s my mindset now. I’m here to play football and whatever happens, happens. I’m here to help this team become a better team. I’m here to help players become better football players and men become better men. Whatever happens, I’m here to play football and I’ll take whatever comes with it.”

RELATED: Bronco notes: All but two players show up for Day 1 of OTAs

RELATED: Lock shakes off QB trade attempts, begins competition against Bridgewater

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