The Carolina Panthers will look to trade former NFL MVP Cam Newton some time in March. This has been known for a while now. Newton missed all but two games of last season with a Lisfranc injury.
For their part, the Panthers are looking to move in a different direction under first-year head coach Matt Rhule. He signed a seven-year contract en route to being lured away from Baylor. Rhule’s plan in Carolina is going to be of the long-term variety.
It’s in this that we look at the five most likely trade destinations for Mr. Newton as the NFL offseason gets going.
Las Vegas Raiders
We’ve previously focused on the fact that Jon Gruden and the Raiders are more than likely going to move on from Derek Carr at some point soon. Las Vegas is already being bandied about as a potential landing spot for Tom Brady. Needless to say, this team is both in need of a veteran quarterback and wants to make a splash as it relocates to the desert metropolis.
Of all the teams potentially in play for Newton, these Raiders make the most sense. Even with Carr still on the roster, Las Vegas has north of $54 million to spend against the cap. It also has two first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, making it easier to part ways with other selections in a trade with Carolina.
Something to the tune of a 2020 third-round pick, 2021 second-round pick and a fringe veteran player could get this done. In the process, Las Vegas finds its stopgap option for the short term.
The Bears have noted that struggling young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will be their starter next season. We’re not buying into that PR spin. Chicago is in win-now mode with a championship-caliber defense. Trubisky continues to hold this team back at every turn.
There are some issues as it relates to a potential Newton to Chicago trade. First off, general manager Ryan Pace and Co. only have an estimated $13.6 million to spend under the cap. Chicago would likely have to move on from a combination of Leonard Floyd, Prince Amukamara and Akiem Hicks to make this work under the cap.
Even then, we love the idea of Newton continuing his career under offensive-minded head coach Matt Nagy. It’s something the former NFL MVP never had with Ron Rivera running the ship in Carolina.
It seems rather clear that Miami is going all in for Alabama product Tua Tagovailoa leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft. The team is said to be looking to move up from the fifth spot to No. 2 overall.
That’s fine and dandy. We just have no idea if Tua is going to be ready to play come Week 1. Sure he’s ahead of schedule in rehab from hip surgery, but any team drafting him would want to take it slow. Boasting five picks in the first two rounds of April’s draft, Miami also has the resources that Carolina would want in any potential trade.
The idea would be to use Newton as a stopgap option and replace him with Tua a year or two down the road. It’s in this that offering up a 2020 second-round pick to Carolina could work.
Los Angeles Chargers
With Philip Rivers likely gone, the Chargers are about to enter a new era. It’s one that could very well include the team going quarterback in Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft. However, there’s another theory floating around league circles.
Los Angeles still believes that it can contend for a playoff spot. The team is not void of talent on both sides of the ball. It has a legit No. 1 receiver in Keenan Allen and studs at all levels on defense.
The idea here would be to send a second-round pick in April’s draft to Carolina for Newton. In turn, Los Angeles would use its first-round pick on a player set to make an immediate impact rather than a possible franchise quarterback. Stranger things have happened.
New England Patriots
If Tom Brady were to decide to depart New England in free agency, recent reports suggest that the Patriots would look to trade for a veteran quarterback. Given Bill Belichick’s status as the second-oldest head coach in the NFL, that makes perfect sense. Reality is, he’s not going to rebuild this ship.
This is why Newton to the Pats makes a lot of sense. New England boasts multiple third-round picks, both of which it could offer up for Newton. It would be a way for the team to continue contending in the post-Brady era.
Of course, all of this is dependent on Brady actually leaving the Patriots. While he’s planning to test the waters in free agency, it’s hard to envision the six-time Super Bowl champ wearing any other uniform.