The Carolina Panthers shopped Cam Newton for months before releasing the former All-Pro quarterback on March 24. Now, the star’s long wait to find a future home could reportedly stretch far longer than expected until he finds a potential starting opportunity.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Newton is waiting to sign with a team until he is guaranteed an opportunity to compete for the starting job. He could be waiting a while, with some expectation around the league indicating he will still be available when the preseason is expected to take place in August.
“Cam wants to be a starter, at least the chance to compete for a starting quarterback job. I don’t see one out there right now, so my sense is Cam is going to wait until there is one,” Ian Rapoport said, via The Rich Eisen Show. “He’s got money, obviously. It’s not like he needs it. I would not be surprised to see Cam waiting and it’s August and there’s a quarterback injury and there is Cam still available.”
Newton is certainly talented and has proven he can be an outstanding quarterback when healthy that is capable of leading a team to the playoffs. However, Newton missed 14 games this past season with a Lisfranc fracture and underwent surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in 2017.
Because NFL doctors have put a hold on any physicals until the COVID-19 pandemic ends, Newton’s market is murky in free agency. While he has looked healthy in videos, team doctors want to examine him on their own and that is unlikely to happen in the near future.
Additionally, the 2020 NFL Draft is just a week away. Multiple teams in need at quarterback are expected to address the position with their first-round picks, taking away potential landing spots for Newton.
Newton would represent an upgrade for multiple teams across the league, but it’s clear an opportunity to prove it won’t be coming soon. When he does sign, though, he offers the potential to make the biggest impact of any free agent signed this offseason.