Cam Newton will be one of the most discussed players in the NFL this off-season, as all signs point to him leaving the Carolina Panthers.
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Owner David Tepper wants a new direction for the franchise, and that could include the team going the route of the Miami Dolphins. Tepper is a hedge fund manager, has recently said that he will not tolerate mediocrity, and has treated his franchise like a stock since he took over. More and more, NFL teams are going the NBA route in the belief that you have to be “really bad” before you get “really good.”
Newton simply does not factor in to the Panthers’ long-term plans as he is a win-now asset.
The Panthers will likely trade the face of their franchise this winter, but the question now is who would want the former league MVP?
The Bears remain the most logical landing spot as Chicago is going to target a veteran quarterback this off-season while their championship window is still open. Philip Rivers and even Tom Brady have been mentioned as a good fit with the Bears but Rivers is likely to retire and Brady is likely to retire or remain with New England.
If Brady does retire, then the Patriots would need an immediate successor at quarterback. It’s much more likely that the Pats keep their championship window open with a veteran quarterback than rolling the dice with a rookie that may or may not pan out.
Bill Belichick has made It clear that he’s sticking around in Foxboro for at least three or four more years as he will be looking to prove he can win a Super Bowl without Brady. New England’s brass believes it can win big with an average to slightly above average quarterback so long as it makes the rest of the roster strong. The Pats have already sort of laid the groundwork there as its defense is as stacked as its been in over a decade.
“If you gave us any of the top 15 [quarterbacks in the NFL], we could do it,” an unnamed Patriots assistant coach told Ian O’Connor last year. “I don’t think the coaches view Tom as special as everyone else in football does. [Robert Kraft} thinks Tom is the greatest gift ever but the coaches don’t.”
Another team that will be in the quarterback market, again, this spring are the Broncos. John Elway has one more chance to solve his quarterback problems and the safest way to go about this is signing or trading for a veteran and drafting an elite rookie in the 2020 draft (which they are expected to do with a high first round pick).
Newton isn’t ideal – just as Joe Flacco hasn’t been ideal – but Denver really won’t have many other options. They could throw whichever rookie they draft to the fire, but not every young QB is Kyler Murray and ready-made.
Of course, a lot of this depends on how much league executives believe Newton has left in the tank. All of this time off that Newton has had this season is expected to do his banged up body good, but many wonder if the 30-year-old still has “it.”
When healthy, Newton has recently shown that he can still be a competent QB in the NFL. Last year in the middle of the 2018 season, Newton ripped off six straight games in which he posted a passer rating over 100.0. When you consider that the flavor of the year, Lamar Jackson, has never posted a 100.0 passer rating more than three games in a row, you can start to believe that Newton can still hang in today’s NFL.