Former NFL MVP Cam Newton has yet to land with a team since the Carolina Panthers released the quarterback in March. Newton will sign somewhere, but it likely will be as a backup. Here are Newton’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year as well to lead the NFL in passing yards.
Is anyone interested in former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who led his team to a national championship, was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, won Rookie of the Year, was the 2015 league MVP and led his team to a Super Bowl (albeit a loss)? Still shocking that Newton remains on the market.
Yes, injuries have been an issue. Newton was limited to just the first two games last year before being sidelined the rest of the way with a major foot injury (Lisfranc). In what would be his final game as a member of the Panthers, Newton completed 25-of-51 passes for 333 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions in the Panthers’ 20-14 Week 2 home loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs. Newton attempted only two rushes and lost a fumble on one of them. He simply didn’t look healthy as Newton reportedly re-aggravated the same left foot he initially injured in the preseason.
In late March, the Panthers released the best quarterback in franchise history. Carolina tried to trade him, but no team was willing to take on the $21.1 million due on the final year of his contract and the fact Newton was unable to meet with team doctors because of the coronavirus. The added on $2 million in dead cap space for Carolina.
A three-time Pro Bowler (2011, 2013, 2015), Newton won AP Offensive Rookie of the Year when he established a single-season NFL record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (14) and became the first player in NFL history to pass for 4,000 yards and rush for 500 yards in a single season. He helped lead the Panthers to an NFC Championship and appearance in Super Bowl 50 the year he won league MVP honors. Newton became the first player in NFL history with at least 30 passing touchdowns (35) and 10 rushing touchdowns (10) in a single season.
Newton had a record of 68-55-1 and 3-4 in the postseason as the Panthers starting quarterback. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in passing yards (29,041), passing touchdowns (182), pass attempts (3,980), pass completions (2,371), 300-yard passing games (19), rushing touchdowns (58) and wins by a quarterback (68).
Many have wondered why the Panthers waited until mid-March to tell Newton they had decided to part ways. That’s because, according to GM Marty Hurney, that’s when the decision was ultimately made. Hurney said releasing Newton “was probably one of the most difficult” decisions he’s made. A day after Newton’s release, the Panthers officially signed Teddy Bridgewater, who will slide into the starting role.
With teams still not able to examine Newton and ensure he’s healthy, he may have to wait until training camp to sign with a team. At first, Newton said he would only sign with a team to be a starter but he has said since he would accept being a backup this year at age 31. A glutted quarterback market produced very soft deals for fellow starters-turned-No. 2s Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton.
Coach Anthony Lynn said the Chargers considered signing Newton but opted to stay with Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert. The Patriots have been linked to Newton and the sides have talked at least once. However, the Patriots appear committed to young Jarrett Stidham as their 2020 starter, and even if Bill Belichick considered signing Newton to start as a “bridge” QB between Tom Brady and Stidham, Newton reportedly isn’t interested in mentoring the 23-year-old Auburn product. Of course, Newton starred at Auburn himself.
Newton reportedly has told people that he’s not looking to go to a place as a firm No. 2 or in a mentoring type of role for a younger quarterback. Newton still believes he can play, and that he is a starter. Thus, he’s willing to wait for the right opportunity, which makes his signing date pretty unpredictable.