The Cam Conundrum

The former MVP and Super Bowl-playing QB has yet to find a new home after Carolina. Why?

witty sports banter.

By CJ Funaro  |  May 4, 2020, 10:10AM EDT

If you were asked two seasons ago whether Cam Newton would be a starting quarterback in the NFL, you'd say yes 99 out of 100 times. That one time you didn't might be what's playing out now, as the former Carolina Panther looks for a new starting job -- and questions about the mileage on his body from multiple seasons of physical and downright exciting quarterback play -- are clearly hampering that. Mix in injury, a poor showing at the start of last season and the season prior, some leadership questions and the desire for what is (likely) a fairly high contract represents something bigger than Cam -- it represents the league's recent affinity for risk avoidance and second chances.

A few weeks ago I was almost certain that Cam Newton would end up on the LA Chargers, with a one year deal somewhere around $12M - $15M. For Cam, yes, it's not a high earning long term deal, but it gets you a fresh start with a new team that has a great running game, above-average offensive line protection, in a great city at a new stadium and with the ability to prove your still at your apex. 

Then the draft happened and the Chargers picked Justin Herbert out of Oregon. Why pay that much for a QB that has to reprove himself after injury vs. a super accurate, rocket-launch thrower of a passer in Justin Herbert. Herbert also overthrows a lot with that cannon ... but something to discuss in later writings.

This is a clear signal from every franchise to the two elephants in the room in Andy Dalton and Cam Newton, two of the most talented (I know how that sounds but wait for the rest of the sentence) QB's without a roster spot. Here's what they're saying: acquiring draft capital to get ourselves the best QB out of college on the cheap is of higher value than taking a chance on a few thirty-somethings who, at times, have shown promise, resilience, and downright greatness. This is the NFL; sign a cheap contract as a second string QB (CC Ryan Tennehill, Jameis Winston) and maybe we'll see you on the field again.

 

Second chances? Only for the lucky, I suppose.

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