Five years ago, Cam Newton was named the NFL’s most valuable player after leading the Carolina Panthers to a 15-1 record and representing the NFC in the Super Bowl against Peyton Manning.
Fast forward to today, and Cam Newton is the only quarterback to start a game last year that does not have a team to call home.
After an injury-plagued season in 2019, the Panthers decided to call it quits and release the former MVP quarterback.
So why is everyone else finding teams to sign with but Newton?
During this off-season, it was going to be different considering the pandemic of COVID-19 and teams will have limited access to meet with free agents, and have players meet with doctors to pass physicals.
But that did not stop the other 16 quarterbacks to sign with teams. Tom Brady signed with Tampa Bay, Philip Rivers went from Los Angeles to Indianapolis, and even the Panthers signed two different quarterbacks.
Watching the top-tier free agent players go, the next wave would be the lower-tier veterans like Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota hoping to sign shorter contracts to hopefully get one more shot at a big contract.
But now Newton is still not signed and it does not look good for him.
What are his options? There are a few.
1. Washington Redskins
The Redskins are still ways away from playoff talks. But bringing in a veteran with playoff and MVP experience, it could make things look a little better. Washington also hired Ron Rivera, who was the head coach of the Panthers with Newton, so the chemistry and offence would be an easy transition. Newton can also be a great mentor and help teach Dwayne Haskins, a second-year player who has a lot of room to grow. Signing here on a one-year or two-year deal could help Newton get back on track physically and get him on other teams’ radars for a multi-year deal after this pit stop.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars, like the Redskins, are in full rebuild mode. And their quarterback is also a second-year player in Gardner Minshew, so things will still be in rebuild mode for many years to come. Newton signing here would probably not turn things around in Jacksonville, but it might turn things around for Newton. Signing here short term and winning some games with this roster can show the league that Newton can still play at an MVP level, and deserves to lead a playoff team. And because of Minshew sitting behind him, and this entire roster needing change, the Jaguars will not be looking for a long-term commitment from Newton, which is a good thing.
3. New England Patriots
This is the move people thought would happen but has not. The Patriots lost Tom Brady in free agency, which people saw coming. It left them with Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer in the quarterback room, competing for the Week 1 starting job. Newton to the Patriots would make so much sense for both sides. The Patriots would add a veteran to a decent roster, and still being in a winnable division, they can make some noise and make a playoff run. And for Newton, signing a two-year deal here would be perfect. Being coached by Bill Belichick would help him, he can make the playoffs with this team, and this would have potential to be a long-term move. Out of the three options, this would be a match made in heaven.
Newton still has many good years in him. After taking basically the entire 2019 season off from injury, he has time to recover, and help him see what he needs to do to get a contract in his favour.
And looking at his recent social media posts, he looks hungrier than ever and healthier than ever, and he wants to prove to the league that he was looked past and is capable of being a starter in the NFL.