In Cam Newton’s first experience in free agency, it didn’t exactly go as he hoped. Newton laid out on the open market for nearly three months before signing with the New England Patriots. Among the early linked teams were the Washington Redskins due to the connection to head coach Ron Rivera. With that in mind, Rivera recently aired out why Washington elected to pass on the chance to bring aboard Newton.
Cam Newton signs with Patriots
Cam Newton went into free agency expecting there to be an active market for his services, but it wasn’t that by any means.
Newton was profoundly impacted by the several different factors that led to having to wait out the right opportunity to present itself. It ranged from the concerns varying first from being unable to get him in for a physical due to the coronavirus. That led to questions centered on his long-term health then to acceptance as a backup.
Those issues aside, Newton found his next home in the NFL as he agreed to a one-year contract with the Patriots worth up to $7.5 million. The 31-year-old took on the challenge of playing in New England on a contract that is far below his market value on a prove-it deal. Before all that took place, the Redskins quickly took Newton off their list as an option.
Why the Redskins passed on Cam Newton
Following Ron Rivera’s departure from the Carolina Panthers in the middle of his ninth season, it didn’t take long for him to find his next home.
Rivera quickly inked a deal to step in as the next head coach for Washington. That also didn’t take long for the chatter to move around Cam Newton joining him there, which he finally brought clarity as to why that never came to be. (H/T ClutchPoints)
“I’m going to be very honest, that’s why I didn’t jump out and try to get Cam signed right away,” Rivera said on The Dan Patrick Show. “Cause I have to watch Dwayne and see where he is. I can’t stunt his growth. We’ve got to give him the opportunity to show us what he can or can’t do.”
That isn’t a slight to Newton by any means, but rather where Washington is heading at the quarterback position. They are fully committed to seeing if Dwayne Haskins can be their long-term answer. If anything, it’s a sign of respect to Newton as they don’t want to relegate him to a backup spot instead of vying for the starting role.
If it was another situation that Rivera was in where Newton could have stepped in as the starter, there’s no doubt that he would have received serious consideration.
Dwayne Haskins’ time to shine
These recent comments from Ron Rivera make it quite clear that the franchise is all in with Dwayne Haskins as their starter moving forward.
Haskins experienced his fair share of struggles in his rookie campaign with his command of the offense and effectiveness under center. Washington also had issues with their offensive line while their offense was among the least productive in the league last season.
The former Ohio State product has an opportunity to grow and learn with his first year under his belt. Meanwhile, he will have standout wide receiver Terry McLaurin back to build on his promising start to his NFL career. Meanwhile, the team has a solid 1-2 punch in the running game with Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice, who finally appears healthy.
The cards on the table for Haskins to take the reins and become the franchise cornerstone that Washington hopes he can become.