Weeks after Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton agreed to deals, Cam Newton remains unattached. Not much known interest has come Newton’s way since the Panthers released him, and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler indicated the former MVP’s market has even cooled over the past month.
But the team with the most noticeable quarterback need may well have spoken with Newton at some point this offseason. The Patriots are believed to have talked with Newton early in free agency, Fowler notes, but nothing came out of those discussions. Newton has been a free agent since Carolina released him a week into free agency.
After losing one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, the Patriots did not make an impact move to replace him. Their Tom Brady succession plan exiting May: a competition featuring 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham and the recently re-signed Brian Hoyer. New England added two UDFA quarterbacks but passed on several free agent arms since Brady’s Buccaneers defection.
Patriots OC Josh McDaniels interviewed for the Panthers job that ended up going to Matt Rhule, and the veteran play-caller was not believed to be high on Newton during his pitch for the Carolina role. Newton is obviously a more proven passer than Stidham or Hoyer and has achieved far more than many teams’ starting quarterbacks. But the 31-year-old QB’s wait continues. And the former No. 1 overall pick is willing to continue waiting, Fowler adds. At this point, Newton may be waiting to see if a training camp injury or before opens a starting job somewhere.
Reports have created an inconclusive picture of Newton’s desire to accept a backup role, and Fowler notes some around the league are not sure if the nine-year Panthers starter would be willing to do so. Newton has not been a backup since his short stay at Florida in the late 2000s.
The Chargers considered Newton, and ex-Panthers HC Ron Rivera discussed his former charge as well. The injuries Newton suffered in recent years — from his 2018 shoulder relapse to last year’s Lisfranc setback, which required surgery — have worked against Newton in this COVID-19-marred offseason. Although coronavirus restrictions are slowly loosening, free agents remain unable to visit teams’ facilities. Before a franchise goes forward with a Newton offer, it would almost certainly want its medical staff to examine him. This has kept Newton in limbo as he rehabs from the December foot surgery.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.