Things are happening rapidly around the NFL with the official start of the new league year. That is primarily true at quarterback. Multiple big-name players have changed teams, including future Hall of Famers Tom Brady and Philip Rivers.
In doing so, a former league MVP has been left out in the cold. The Carolina Panthers just signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $60 million contract. This means Cam Newton is out of a job, as the Panthers announced earlier in the week.
Where Cam goes from here: Now that the market for his services are limited, Newton is going to be faced with a tough reality. He’s not a highly sought-after quarterback. That’s the objective truth. How the remainder of the market plays out will dictate where he ends up.
The market: As noted above, teams in need of a quarterback have addressed that position in a big way during the early stages of free agency.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: While Tampa was not in on Newton, it did find an upgrade over Jameis Winston in that of six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. Needless to say, the Buccaneers made the biggest news of the early free-agent period.
- Chicago Bears: One team that was linked to Newton, the Bears went in another direction by adding Nick Foles from the Jaguars for a mid-round pick. It’s somewhat surprising in that I’d still rank Newton ahead of his counterpart.
- Indianapolis Colts: Needless to say, the Colts were not really linked to Newton ahead of signing eight-time Pro Bowler Philip Rivers. The team had been bandied about as a possibility for Rivers over the course of the past few months. That was always going to be the end game for head coach Frank Reich and Co.
- Las Vegas Raiders: We still have no idea what is going to happen in Las Vegas come September. What we do know is that the Raiders signed former No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota. He will, at the very least, compete with Derek Carr for the starting job.
Dwindling options: While Newton has been boxed out to an extent, there are some potential options for him to land a starting job. This list of teams does indeed include potential playoff contenders.
- New England Patriots: For the first time in two decades, the Pats find themselves in a situation where Tom Brady will not be under center. It’s something else. And it shocked the football world. Could New England make a play for Newton? It makes sense in that Bill Belichick is not looking to rebuild. It could also be a perfect fit for both sides.
- Miami Dolphins: It seems like the Fins have purposely ignored the quarterback position during their free-agent spending frenzy. They have holdovers Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. The team is also expected to go all in for a certain former Alabama quarterback in next month’s NFL Draft. Newton is unlikely to be an option in South Beach.
- Washington Redskins: While the Skins make sense in so far that former Panthers head coach Ron Rivers is manning the sidelines in D.C., interest in Newton seems to be tepid. Washington might not be sold on 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins. But if the team does indeed look at other options, it will be with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Here’s a squad that could make some sense. Cincinnati is almost guaranteed to go Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick in next month’s draft. Could the team add Newton as a stopgap option while Burrow gets his feet wet? It is a possibility, especially with Andy Dalton on the trade block.
Newton, 30, is seemingly a shell of his former self. Here’s a dude that has lost each of his past eight starts. He missed all but two games last season with a Lisfranc injury. That came after the former league MVP underwent shoulder surgery.
While Newton’s contract ($21.1 million cap hit in 2020) is enticing to teams, the injury risk and his regression on the field is concerning. That’s why the former No. 1 pick has been met with a bare market.
It’s also important to note that Carolina already showed its hand here by publicly announcing that Newton has been granted permission to seek a trade. Adding Teddy Bridgewater is yet another example of this. Teams might very well be waiting for the Panthers to outright release Newton.
I am sure that Newton will land somewhere. The Patriots seem to make a bunch of sense. Just don’t expect it to happen any time soon.