What Now For Cam Newton?
Yesterday we saw NFL teams making the final cuts to their rosters trimming it down to 53 players. The most shocking cut of the day was without a doubt the New England Patriots releasing former MVP Cam Newton.
Newton played his first season in New England last year replacing legendary quarterback Tom Brady. With big shoes to fill Newton disappointed throwing for just 2,657 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions with a 65 percent completion rate. Newton missed time due to a covid infection and had little to no help with a terrible roster around him. In response New England signed a handful of big name free agents and drafted quarterback Mac Jones with their first round pick.
Going into the preseason the narrative in New England was that it’d be a competition for the starting quarterback spot with Newton being the likely starter week one. After an up and down preseason from Newton that saw him miss time with a covid testing mix up and a strong preseason from Jones the Patriots had a change of heart. Newton was cut and Jones was named the starter in a development that shocked the NFL world.
Most believed Cam would at least be kept on the roster as a backup seeing that Brian Hoyer was the only other quarterback on the roster. Newton getting cut didn’t seem like a possible outcome but here we are, so why did the Patriots cut Newton? I think the likely reason for the cutting of Cam was to ease the mind of rookie quarterback Mac Jones. Even though Jones won the starting spot, keeping Newton on the roster would’ve put unwanted pressure on him. Jones is bound to make some mistakes in his rookie campaign, and if everytime he did so he saw a former MVP warming up next to him I’m sure doubt would start to creep in the back of his mind. Removing competition for Jones allows him to go out there and work through his mistakes and focus on becoming a better quarterback rather than the starting quarterback. The other reason that comes to mind is that the Patriots could be doing Newton a favor. Newton wouldn’t have been thrilled backing up a rookie quarterback with his level of talent so releasing him gives him the opportunity to find a starting gig elsewhere. That leads us to our next question, where does Cam go now?
As of right now there are not many possible landing spots for Newton. With real football just a week away and training camp ending Newton will have to learn whatever offense he joins on the fly.
Washington seems like a logical location with the Rivera connection and having a less than stellar starting quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick. However Washington has winning expectations this season and will likely be better off sticking with Fitzpatrick as he had the entire offseason to learn the offense.
Houston could be another possible landing spot with DeShaun Watson likely missing the season and Tyrod Taylor being the current starting quarterback. This wouldn’t be a great fit for either side though. Newton is entering the twilight of his career and wants to compete now while the Texans are jockeying for draft position. Having a quarterback like Newton would just make a team trying to be bad slightly better.
There are a few other possible teams like Denver or Dallas but no fit is seamless and it is likely he will not be on a roster come week one. So as of right now I’d say Newton’s best shot at getting back in the league would be either waiting for an opening, backing up someone, or waiting for next season.
The first and in my opinion most logical option for Newton is to wait for an opportunity to come to him. This is football, it is almost a given that at least one starting quarterback is going to get injured between now and the end of the regular season. Whenever and wherever that happens Newton will immediately become the best replacement option. A team like the Dallas Cowboys would’ve signed Newton in a heartbeat after Dak Prescott went down for the season. This would be great for Newton as well because any team that signs him will likely have playoff aspirations allowing him another chance at postseason play.
Another option for Newton would be backing someone up this season. This would likely not be Newton’s ideal choice but this could be the quickest way for him to get on a roster. Newton could be a backup for a guy like Russell Wilson and spend the season getting paid to be insurance at that position. Newton could then sign with a team the following season that can offer a starting job. This would be a similar route to Teddy Bridgewater a few seasons ago when he backed up Drew Brees and then got a starting job in Carolina. This way Newton would have the possibility to play for a contender, but either way would backup an established guy and position himself well for next offseason.
The last option would be for Newton to completely sit out the 2021-22 season and wait for his opportunity next year. This will likely be the outcome if an opportunity doesn’t present itself throughout the season and Newton is unwilling to be a backup. This would not be ideal though as a year off from football in conjunction with Newton’s age and injury history would likely concern some teams looking for a starter next year. Though if Newton decided to wait it out I have little doubt that a team would give him an opportunity.
That’s all I got on Cam Newton being cut. I sincerely hope that Newton has another opportunity to play quarterback in the NFL. In his prime Newton was arguably the most talented player in the NFL so seeing him struggle to find a job is shocking. I still believe Newton has some good football left in him, hopefully one of the thirty-two NFL teams agrees.