We’re about to enter May and Cam Newton still doesn’t have an NFL team. What happens to him now that the 2020 NFL Draft is in the books?
Cam Newton remains without a football home heading into May.
The former No. 1 overall pick by the Carolina Panthers is still looking for a new team to join ahead of the 2020 NFL season. Newton won a national championship and the 2010 Heisman Trophy at Auburn before becoming arguably the greatest player in Panthers football history. The 2015 NFL MVP finds himself unemployed heading into what would be his 10th season in the league.
Thursday night through Saturday afternoon saw an impressive 13 college quarterbacks get drafted. Sunday morning saw Jameis Winston switch rival teams in the NFC South. The former No. 1 overall pick in 2015 and 2013 Heisman Trophy winner is expected to go from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the New Orleans Saints. He won’t even have to leave the Gulf Coast.
Now that the music has stopped and there are seemingly no chairs left for Newton to grab a seat in, where is he to go now? Who could be a candidate to sign Newton in the coming months? What will his role look like on a new team? Let’s find out now.
Who could sign Cam Newton?
You have to look very hard, but there are possibly four teams that could consider signing Newton. The two obvious ones that come to mind are the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Neither team drafted a quarterback over the weekend and there are pathways to carving out playing time rather quickly in either spot.
For New England, 2020 playing time seems the most likely, as Newton would only have to beat out his fellow Auburn brother Jarrett Stidham for the starting gig. Newton may not have the feel of a prototypical Bill Belichick player, but neither did Randy Moss when he looked to be washed as a member of the then-Oakland Raiders before coming aboard. New England is still a possibility.
With Pittsburgh, it’s strange the Steelers didn’t draft someone like Jalen Hurts, who went rather early to the in-state rival Philadelphia Eagles in the second round. The idea with Newton going to Pittsburgh is he’ll be the heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger in the Steel City. They are of the same quarterbacking prototype. Both are beat up, but Newton is considerably younger of the two.
While those two spots make a good deal of sense, let’s consider two more for the hell of it: What if Newton went to the Denver Broncos or the Seattle Seahawks as a backup? It would be a bit of a rehabilitation project for him in either spot, as he wouldn’t be expected to stay there for very long. He’ll elevate the respective quarterback rooms and be an elite backup in either spot.
In Denver, Newton would join a Broncos team that is about to hand Drew Lock the starting job entering his second season. Lock impressed down the stretch, but the Broncos’ quarterbacking situation has been tumultuous at best since Peyton Manning retired. It’s also important that Newton’s former offensive coordinator Mike Shula coaches the quarterbacks in Denver.
With Seattle, it’s the Russell Wilson show in the Pacific Northwest and everybody knows that. However, the Seahawks don’t have a reliable backup, or even one who can make plays with his legs like Wilson often has to do behind his perpetual wet paper bag of an offensive line. Newton’s favorite target from Carolina in tight end Greg Olsen now calls Seattle home.
What happens now with Cam Newton?
The best thing for Newton to do is to stay in shape and get healthy above all else. His talent is too undeniable for him to be out of work for very long. Eventually, some NFL team will see their quarterback get hurt in training camp and Newton will fly out to any of those locations for a visit.
This may take until the summer, but Newton will be on a new NFL team by the time the 2020-21 academic year starts. There will be a suitor, possibly more than one. A team will quickly find out one of their day-three quarterback draft selections can’t play and they’ll bring Newton in during the latter stages of the preseason to compete for a backup job. He’ll win that and maybe more.
There could be other teams that might surface in the coming weeks, but let’s start with those four (New England, Pittsburgh, Denver, Seattle) and see what happens. Though he may not be the player he was five years ago, when things are going right, there are very few quarterbacks you’ll want running an offense than Newton. Just ask anyone who played with him in 2010 and 2015.