After being the Panthers’ franchise quarterback over the past decade, Newton was released by the Panthers as they chose to go a different direction by signing Teddy Bridgewater.
Newton’s release shows how the Panthers are moving in a new direction under new head coach Matt Rhule. The former 1st overall pick, is not only a three time pro bowler, but is also a former league MVP after leading the Panthers to the Super Bowl in the 2015-2016 NFL season.
However, Newton is no longer the dominant dual threat quarterback he once was. Over his career, Cam has struggled with injuries and staying on the field. Last season, Newton was only able to play in two games. Due to these concerns, Newton’s production over the past few years has tanked compared to what he used to be able to do.
Yet, Newton has made it clear that he wants to continue playing in the NFL. If that is the case, Newton’s path back to being a starting quarterback will be almost impossible. The thing is the NFL has more than 32 viable starting quarterback options. For example, Marcus Mariota, Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston and even Jacoby Brissett are realistic NFL starters, yet all three of them are currently backups. Therefore, Newton may not find a home in the NFL as a starter, but rather as a highly talented backup.
New England seems like the most logical home for Newton. Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham do not seem likely to fill Brady’s big shoes. Even Bill Belicheck in the past has commented on the talented Newton. Yet, the Patriots seem committed to Stidham and rumors have it that they’re not interested in Newton. Although New England looks like a great fit for the aging superstar, there are other spots that could work for Newton.
Jacksonville may seem like a crazy spot, but think about it for a minute. Is Gardner Minshew the quarterback of the future? Maybe. However, by bringing in Cam, not only could he compete for the starting job, but could help Minshew grow as a player by acting as a good role model for the young quarterback. Yet, Jacksonville management will probably not want to bring another outspoken player like Cam into the locker room as they have to keep focused on rebuilding the roster and dealing with the contracts of Yannick Ngakoue and Leonard Fournette.
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Perhaps the craziest scenario would be if Newton went to Cleveland. Baker Mayfield played very questionably last season, and Newton could not only help Mayfield grow as a quarterback, but as a leader in the locker room. Also, if Mayfield went down with injury or struggled next season, imagine what Newton could accomplish with Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin on the offensive line, as well as offensive weapons like Nick Chubb, Austin Hooper, Odell Beckham Jr, and Jarvis Landry.
With that said, it seems unlikely that Newton will be able to be a starting quarterback again in the NFL. Yet, if he is willing to take a big pay cut from what he is used to earning, Newton may find himself a home as a backup in the NFL.
Another possibility is that Newton waits out until someone gets injured during training camp and then leaps onto a new team as the starter. Yet whatever happens, Cam’s situation will definitely be interesting to pay attention to, as the former face of the Panthers’ franchise looks for a new home in the NFL.