The 2020 NFL season was not the one New England Patriots’ QB Cam Netwon hoped for when he changed scenery. With an impending date with free agency, where are some landing spots for Cam Newton in 2021?
Cam Newton’s time in New England is likely coming to an end
Likely coming as a surprise to no one, all reports say that Newton will hit free agency once again in 2021. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots and QB Cam Newton are expected to part ways this offseason.
Simply put, things didn’t work out. In the first year without Tom Brady under center, there are more questions than answers. The only things that remain certain are the Patriots have holes to fill and failed to win the division after winning the previous 11 times.
New England is a team lacking talent regardless of who is under center
It would be unfair to put this all on Newton. On offense, this is not a talented team. N’Keal Harry has been a considerable disappointment, and the only other pass catchers are an oft-injured 34-year-old Julian Edelman (played in six games), UDFA Jakobi Meyers, and Damiere Byrd.
Newton, 32, had to be the entire offense, and when he struggled, the team stalled. Newton was the leading rusher in multiple games this season and the only player who looked like an NFL starter. However, Cam Netwon will hit free agency after having his worst season as a professional.
He completed attempted 221 of 338 attempts for 2,415 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games. All of these stats were career-lows outside of 2019 when he played in only two games. Newton rushed 126 times for 513 yards and 12 touchdowns. His highest scoring total since winning the rookie of the year in 2011.
Several potential openings will be filled with the draft
One thing we need to consider in all of this is a lot of teams will address their needs in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jacksonville is going to take Trevor Lawrence with the first pick. Next off the board will likely be Ohio State QB Justin Fields and BYU QB Zack Wilson. You could see all three of them gone in the first four picks.
Other proven veterans will also hit free agency and could be more sought after than Cam Newton. He’ll be joined by Mitchell Trubisky, Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Tyrod Taylor, Jameis Winston, and Nick Mullens. Even Dak Prescott has a chance to hit the market though it’s likely Dallas finds a way to get it done. Movement out of Matthew Stafford has even been rumored.
The question remains – who is willing to take a shot on Cam Newton in free agency?
Washington Football Team | A reunion with Ron Rivera in free agency is possible for Cam Newton
We will hear a lot about this landing spot for Cam Newton in free agency. The criteria does fit, however.
Is there a need for a QB? Yes, the team does not have a secure future and just released Dwayne Haskins after drafting him in 2019. They are also outside of those top picks to land one of the more premium QBs in the draft. Then there is the obvious connection to the coaching staff. Head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner are close with Newton from their times in Carolina. Whether or not they are willing to rekindle those flames remains to be seen.
Chicago Bears | There are several questions at QB for the Bears
Despite how much money the team has invested in Nick Foles, he doesn’t seem like the long-term option. Mitch Trubisky will hit free agency following the 2020 season and opens up an opening in Chicago.
There are also questions on who will be the head coach as Matt Nagy’s job isn’t secure. A new coach could want to bring in Newton and open up a competition. If Nagy is still the coach, he would be in a win-now mindset, and adding Cam Newton in free agency would be a viable option. It’s worth remembering the Panthers initially tried to send Newton to Chicago in March before his release.
Pittsburgh Steelers | Ben Roethlisberger’s career could be over
I thought this one could have happened last season. The Steelers do not have a plan in place once Roethlisberger hangs up his cleats. And that day is quickly approaching. Mason Rudolph is not an NFL QB, and unless the Steelers moved up in the draft for a Mac Jones, no one remaining is a sure thing.
The Steelers are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. They can’t afford to waste that by starting Rudolph or even a rookie at quarterback in 2021. Bringing in a guy like Cam Newton could bring stability to the position for at least one season while addressing other draft needs such as OT, RB, or DL.
Denver Broncos | Is it time to end the Drew Lock experiment?
GM John Elway has to decide on QB Drew Lock. They have surrounded him with talent and took away many potential excuses in doing so. Yes, not having Courtland Sutton (torn ACL) hurt, but they also added Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler in the draft. Lock’s numbers have not been impressive, and he has a turnover in 11 straight games. This includes a touchdown to interception rate of 14 to 15.
The Broncos have a sneaky talented team on both sides of the ball. Injuries were a big downfall for them in 2020, along with playing a game with any QBs. The question is if Cam Newton has the arm strength that John Elway covets in his quarterbacks.
New England Patriots | There is always a chance Newton returns
Of these options listed, this is likely the least probable. However, if we have learned anything yet, it is that Bill Belichick is unpredictable.
Ideally, the Patriots would draft one of the top incoming rookies. If that happens remains to be seen given their position. They would likely have to trade up, and with so many other needs, having Newton back for at least one more season could allow them some flexibility in April.
Is Cam Newton going to be starting in 2021?
It’s an honest question. At the start of the season, Cam Newton looked like someone who was out to prove the world wrong. Newton had 714 passing yards, 149 rushing yards, and six total touchdowns in his first three games. After testing positive heading into Week 4, Newton was never the same. Since Week 6, Newton has thrown for over 210 yards twice, threw for three TDs, eight interceptions, and averaged 154.6 passing yards per game.
Cam Newton bet on himself in 2020, and it’s not hard to say that his bet went belly-up. Perhaps Newton could pull a Jameis Winston, sit for one year, backup a veteran, and get his mojo back. I don’t think he is wired that way and wouldn’t accept this reality. However, like it or not, unless a team believes in you, the choice is out of your hands.
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