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Derek Anderson has potential options outside of Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Derek Anderson isn’t in the same conversation as Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and AJ McCarron when it comes to available free-agent quarterbacks.

But Anderson is drawing interest from teams outside of the Carolina Panthers, where he has been Cam Newton’s backup since 2011.

Several teams have expressed interest in the 34-year-old Anderson, according to a league source. The Panthers also remain an option, as coach Ron Rivera expressed at the NFL combine.

But Carolina hasn’t made a move yet, and may be willing to let the quarterback market play out a bit before making a decision.

Rivera also said at the combine it’s time to start developing a future replacement for Newton, who turns 29 in May. He mentioned drafting a quarterback, something the Panthers haven’t done since selecting Newton with the first pick in 2011.

But what if Teddy Bridgewater, who along with Keenum and Bradford is one of three Minnesota free-agent quarterbacks, doesn’t get offered a starting job? At 25, he’s still young enough to develop for the future if the Panthers are interested and can afford him.

Bridgewater worked with new Carolina offensive coordinator Norv Turner and quarterbacks coach Scott Turner with the Vikings in 2014-15, when he started 28 games before his career was derailed by a severe ACL tear during the 2016 preseason.

In 2015, Turner said Bridgewater should be considered one of the top five quarterbacks in the league.

The Panthers also may have other young free-agent quarterbacks they want to consider to develop behind Newton, although the market is thin. So, they can afford to be patient considering most, if not all, of the interest from other teams in Anderson is as a veteran backup.

Neither side has to rush into a decision. What happens with the market over the next few days will be key.