Since the Carolina Panthers decided to part ways from former Pro Bowl quarterback Cam Newton, he has remained on the free-agent market. Newton has struggled to find any serious interest from another team to bring him in for the 2020 season. Much has been made about his long injury history as it has forced him to cut his each of his last two seasons with the Panthers short. However, it appears that isn’t the primary reason Newton is still out of a job in NFL this late into the offseason.
Cam Newton’s free agency
Cam Newton saw his tenure with the Panthers come to a disappointing close after nine seasons.
The Panthers elected to move on from him as he has been plagued by season-ending injuries over the previous two seasons. Newton missed the final 14 games of the 2019 campaign due to a foot injury.
It also didn’t help his situation in the final year of his five-year, $103.8 million deal. The writing had been on the wall for months and came to fruition after Carolina elected to sign Teddy Bridgewater in free agency, and cut the former league MVP shortly after.
Newton has remained on the open market for the last several weeks without any serious consideration from any other team. That saw the Chicago Bears elect to trade for Nick Foles instead of him, while the Los Angeles Chargers stayed firm with Tyrod Taylor and took former Oregon product Justin Herbert with the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft.
The New England Patriots were also tossed around as a possible landing spot, but the team hasn’t moved anywhere near showing a desire to bring him aboard.
Why Cam Newton is still a free agent
Newton’s extended free-agency process has put him under a microscope to a greater extent than ever before in his career.
Teams have a clear look at what he can provide at this stage of his career that has many factors playing into the equation. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, there has been a sense that his play did drop a bit, but the overwhelming concern lies with him being able to accept the role as a backup.
“And that brings us to the second piece, which is how much of that relates to his injuries, and how his injuries will linger (which, again, is hard for teams to get a handle on without having their own doctors get hands on his left foot and right shoulder). Three, starting quarterback and backup quarterback are two different jobs, with different job descriptions.”
Newton has hit the spot where teams may not necessarily view him as being a starting quarterback at this point in his career. The opportunities that lie ahead of him may only be him in that realm.
Will Cam Newton accept that role?
The perception around Newton may have settled around that viewpoint, but it’s on his shoulders to prove that he can handle that role.
It may not be the position he wants to take at this stage of his career, but numerous other players have accepted that role. Bridgewater went through that with the New Orleans Saints while Jameis Winston is going that route in 2020 with the Saints.
Newton can still be a viable starting quarterback and demonstrate that he has plenty left in the tank. It’s on him to make the best of his next situation regardless of where that is.