Cam Newton once again finds himself unemployed and waiting for the right opportunity. After spending the second half of the 2021 season in his old home of Carolina, Newton is a free agent once more. He told Adam Schefter on Tuesday that he has a few teams who have given him a call.
Whether Newton is still good enough to lead a team to a championship is certainly up for debate. He was in a weird spot with the Panthers last year that made it hard to evaluate where his level of play is at. Matt Rhule forced him into a rotational situation with Sam Darnold and PJ Walker. There was no opportunity to establish a rhythm. Newton was pretty good in goal-line situations, but we already knew that to be true about one of the best running QBs in NFL history. He still had his fair share of wobbly duck passes, even in limited appearances. Newton is probably still serviceable but far from the MVP player who brought his team to the Super Bowl seven years ago.
The particular combination of factors Newton is looking for is tough to find right now. But we'll give it our best shot for you, reader. Here are three possible landing spots for Newton in free agency.
The Panthers are absolutely not competing for a Super Bowl this year but probably gives Newton his best chance at starting a full season. They tried and failed to add a quarterback this offseason, so they once again are stuck with the Darnold/Walker combination. They could spend a pick on a QB in the draft next month but none of those prospects are ready to start from Day 1, so the top of the depth chart is still open. Newton is beloved in Carolina and was the only part of the team last season that gave fans legitimate joy. As one of the few teams still undecided under center going into 2022, the Panthers must be included in any Newton discussions for now.
The Dolphins' expectations for 2022 are now sky-high after giving up five draft picks and a whole lot of cash for Tyreek Hill. The pressure is on Tua Tagovailoa to deliver. But what we've seen from the young signal-caller so far makes everybody question if he is ready or even capable of making the leap from potentially a good quarterback to actually being a good quarterback. Mike McDaniel will be in his first year as a head coach and needs someone reliable. They might want to consider Newton. He has a lot of the flaws Tagovailoa has in his game and is a decade older, sure, but at least he brings great leadership and a much more dangerous ground game. Miami will probably roll with Tagovailoa for now, but once camp starts Newton is a name to watch if the former Alabama QB can't get up to speed.
The Seahawks are without Russell Wilson for the first time in a decade, and everything the franchise has put forth publicly suggests they are just fine with rolling with the Drew Lock-Geno Smith quarterback room in 2022. It is hard to believe them. If they fail to add another name to that duo, whether through the draft or the trade market (Baker Mayfield?), Newton should be on the phone before training camp begins. Pete Carroll has no time for a rebuild and Newton, while not the same guy he was a few years ago, is definitely more productive than Lock or Smith on his good days and probably on his bad days, too. Newton definitely gets a chance to start in Seattle, and if they hit on their draft picks, playoff contention isn't entirely out of the question.