It’s getting pretty late in NFL free agency. Cam Newton, one of the biggest star quarterbacks in the league in recent years, remains unsigned.
There aren’t any obvious starting quarterback jobs available. Places that would seem to have them, like the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots, seem comfortable moving forward with guys like Tyrod Taylor and Jarrett Stidham, respectively. Newton may have to find a backup job with a lot of potential.
There has been speculation as to why there is so little interest in Newton. Injuries have been a major setback for him in recent years, but he was an MVP just a few seasons ago, leading the Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl berth. Teams have to think he still has something left in the tank.
That may not be the case around the league though. “Not saying he can’t bounce back,” one unnamed general manager told Sports Illustrated‘s Albert Breer, “but the decline is evident.” From Breer’s latest column for the MMQB:
.@AlbertBreer‘s MAQB: The uncertainty over the cap means some players who want to be the highest-paid at their position may have to wait a bit. Plus notes on Jalen Hurts, Russell Wilson and Memorial Day: https://t.co/2NFm4ISrxe
— The MMQB (@theMMQB) May 25, 2020
One of the factors that we may not always consider is how Cam Newton could slide into a backup quarterback role. He is almost definitely still better than a guy like Chase Daniel, but Breer believes teams may value Daniel’s particular skill set and experience as a QB2, vs. being the franchise guy that Newton has been since day one of his career to this point.
Starting quarterback and backup quarterback are two different jobs, with different job descriptions. That’s actually helped guys like Case Keenum and Chase Daniel get good deals earlier in the offseason. They know what they are, and teams know how they fit in as backups, and that allowed them to move quickly in March, while guys like Jameis Winston, Joe Flacco and Newton waited for better opportunities. In the end, Winston and Flacco took less than Keenum and Daniel got, and it looks like Newton will have to, too.
We’ve seen a number of teams floated as fits for Newton. Breer brings up the Pittsburgh Steelers, while others have tabbed the likes of the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams.
He’ll land a gig soon enough. Where that will be remains a huge point of intrigue in the football world.
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