Will The Panthers Trade Cam Newton To The Bears, Colts Or Jets?
Will the Panthers trade Cam Newton to the Bears, Colts or Jets?
It is certainly within the realm of possibility.
The one unifying thing that Chicago, Indianapolis and New York all have in common is an unsettled quarterback situation.
They all need a proven passer for a variety of reasons, and Newton is nothing if not proven.
Coming off Thursday night’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina looks like a group that needs to be blown up.
The Cam Newton-Ron Rivera union worked beautifully at one point – but that was four years ago.
Since the Panthers went 15-1 and reached the Super Bowl in 2015, the team has gone 24-26 and only made the playoffs once.
Due to a combination of injuries taking a toll on his body and his inability to compensate for his diminishing athleticism, Newton has never been the same since his Super Bowl run.
Carolina simply isn’t a team built to have a quarterback like Newton anymore.
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) September 13, 2019
Against the Buccaneers this week, the Panthers failed to convert a fourth-and-1 on the opposition’s two-yard line with a minute and change remaining because Newton is no longer capable of doing a quarterback sneak.
He’s apparently that banged up.
Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves indicated after the game that they knew there was no way Newton was going to take the ball into the endzone himself.
“He can’t take them hits like that,” he said.
“It’s going to eat his body up. So not really. We expected more throwing as he is getting older in his career.”
Despite the fact that the final play didn’t work, Rivera stood by it after the game.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t work,” Rivera said.
“That’s all I can tell. We felt good about the play.”
Newton, for his part, took responsibility for the loss after the game.
“It’s hard to look defensive guys in the eyes after a game like this because we didn’t uphold our end of the bargain,” Newton said.
“All fingers are pointed back to the offense and me specifically.”
There are multiple examples in football history of older, more physically damaged quarterbacks needing different environments in order to improve.
This feels like one of those cases.
Newton paired with the Bears defense could be something truly special. And more importantly, even in his diminished state, Newton is still a better quarterback than Mitchell Trubisky.
Along the same lines, the Colts may have invested some money in Jacoby Brissett this summer because they desperately need him to be a competent Andrew Luck replacement, but he just isn’t a starter in the NFL.
He’s a fine backup – but there’s a reason Indianapolis lost its status as an AFC South favorite the moment Luck called it quits.
Newton, with the Colts’ defense and running attack, could turn the team into a legitimate contender in the division.
Finally, the Jets are a mess. Darnold is out indefinitely with mono, and even when he played last week, he wasn’t particularly good.
Darnold may become a solid NFL quarterback at some point in his career, but if the first game of this year was any indication, he’s just not there yet.
Newton could provide the Jets with the sort of veteran presence they need on offense to make some noise for a Wild Card spot.
The idea of Carolina getting rid of Newton may sound extreme – but it absolutely is not.
One way or another, the Panthers will have to confront the prospect of parting ways with Newton come season’s end.
The team could opt to cut Newton this year and take just a $2 million dead cap hit, all the while saving more than $19 million cash and space in 2020.
Regardless of whether they trade him or cut him, the Panthers will likely end Newton’s time as their starting quarterback sooner rather than later.
The question now is whether they’ll be able to get something in return for him via trade or let him walk for nothing.