Cam Newton remains unsigned after he was officially released by the Carolina Panthers last week. There are any multitude of reasons for this -- his questionable health in tandem with teams unable to travel to check his medicals being chief among them -- but the fact of the matter is that teams around the league share the view that Newton is a risky investment right now.
Newton's release was untimely in that it came after most of the potential starting quarterback positions around the league were filled. But the Los Angeles Chargers seem a clear match, given they haven't done anything to offset the loss of Philip Rivers and plan to open a new stadium next year. Anthony Lynn is reportedly a big Tyrod Taylor guy and wants to give him a shot at the starting job, but one would figure they would leap at the chance to replace Taylor with an MVP-caliber talent in Newton to both improve their playoff chances and draw fans.
Colin Cowherd is not in line with that thinking. He presented some numbers today on The Herd to argue that there isn't much of a difference at all between Newton and Taylor at all.
A lot to unpack here, huh?
I can actually get behind what I believe Cowherd's purpose is here, which is to prove that Taylor isn't as bad as everyone says he is. He won't win you any games on the strength of his arm, but he stays in his lane and avoids turnovers nearly as well as Tom Brady. I bet Bears fans would have been perfectly happy to give him a shot as a game manager after the season Mitch Trubisky turned in.
HOWEVER. This is a classic instance of presenting stats with no context to prove the point you want to make. Yes, their statistical profile over their last three seasons' worth of starts is quite similar. But Taylor played exactly zero games last season and only three the year prior. Newton played only two last season, but fought through injuries to play 14 in 2018. He was also playing in the NFC South, regularly attempting to fight back from behind with an unappetizing assortment of weapons at his disposal. Taylor's seasons as a starter came in Buffalo, where his supporting cast was as weak as Newton's, but the schedule was far easier.
Most importantly, Newton put up those numbers dealing with a variety of ailments. He hasn't been fully healthy since his MVP season, which is a justifiable knock against him. But if he won one less game while throwing for more touchdowns and yards than Taylor at significantly less than 100 percent, what does that say about Taylor? Nothing flattering.
Cowherd's argument boils down to the fact that this version of Newton (regularly hurt, turnover-prone, and inefficient) is the guy a potential suitor will get. That may be true. But the numbers, to me, say this: Newton at his worst is as good as Taylor at his best. His floor is Taylor's ceiling. They are not the same guy. The Chargers would be insane to think that's the case.