Two weeks ago, the New England Patriots released veteran quarterback Cam Newton, giving the starting job to rookie Mac Jones. On last week’s More Than Football podcast, PFN’s Chief NFL Analyst Trey Wingo and host Brett Yarris discussed the Patriots’ decision and where Newton might go from here.
Note: To watch this episode of More Than Football, tune in to the video player above. You can also listen to the podcast in the player at the end of the article or on your favorite podcast platform, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Once Mac Jones was named the starter, Trey Wingo wasn’t surprised that Cam Newton was cut
Like most of us, Wingo wasn’t expecting Newton’s release going into the offseason. After all, Newton played with the starters all summer. However, once New England revealed that Mac Jones would be starting, Wingo understood the move.
“It doesn’t surprise me that he [Cam Newton] was cut, after he wasn’t named the starter. It did surprise me that he wasn’t named the starter.”
Wingo could see several reasons why cutting Newton would make sense from New England’s perspective. First, it gives Newton a chance to find a new team, something Bill Belichick has done for other players in the past.
Second, the Patriots’ offense will look completely different with Jones at quarterback than if Newton was going to be starting.
“If you’re going all in on Mac [Jones], you’re going to run your offense a different way than you were going to run it with Cam Newton.”
The two quarterbacks have completely different skill sets, and letting Newton go allows the team to fully commit to Jones and his style of play.
Where will he go now?
Now that Newton is a free agent, he has several options. If he wants to start, Wingo thinks he has a few choices.
First up, the Denver Broncos. They might end up signing Aaron Rodgers in 2022, but what about this season? The team has a great deal of talent on offense. While they recently gave the starting job to Teddy Bridgewater, perhaps Newton is better equipped to take advantage of that talent.
Another option Wingo mentions is the Washington Football Team. That move would reunite Newton with head coach Ron Rivera. They worked together during Newton’s MVP season, producing the highest-scoring offense in the NFL.
However, Wingo is “fairly confident Washington is committed to Ryan Fitzpatrick,” and doesn’t think they would bring in Newton to back him up.
Another potential problem with Newton heading to Washington is Newton’s vaccination status. Due to his battle with cancer, Rivera has a compromised immune system and has expressed his frustration with low vaccination rates and with vaccine misinformation in general.
That might be enough to convince him not to take a chance on the unvaccinated Newton.
The Baltimore Ravens would be a great fit for Newton if he is willing to be a backup
On the other hand, perhaps Newton is willing to play a backup role. In that case, Wingo thinks the Ravens would be a perfect fit.
“You want a backup quarterback to be able to do the same things that you would require of your starting quarterback.”
Last season, Lamar Jackson’s backup was Robert Griffin III, who had an extremely similar playstyle to Jackson. Newton could fill that same role.
Yet, Wingo points out that Newton needs to know going in that he will be a backup. After all, the chances of him taking Jackson’s job are essentially nil.
Is Cam Newton done with football?
Finally, Wingo addresses the possibility that Newton will move on from football. He points out that when Newton was drafted the quarterback said, “I want to be an icon.”
Newton has always been a fashion-forward individual — perhaps 10 NFL seasons is enough for him. The opportunities for him to start in 2021 are incredibly limited. He may want to move on to other endeavors.
Ultimately, only Newton can decide if he is satisfied with his career. If he is, we might never see him take the field again.