Deal of the Century: Cam Newton for Mitchell Trubisky?
The Cam Newton watch just became more interesting for the Chicago Bears again after The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue fixed a date to when the Carolina Panthers quarterback will be cleared to participate in football activities.
The report said the Panthers think Newton is likely to pass his physical and get cleared for football activity in March. Any trade or other move involving Newton would have to come after the physical.
Such a timeline could give the Bears the ability to assess whether they are interested in trading for Newton and what they could afford to pay him.
It would have to be with a little time left before the March 16 start of the free agency negotiating period, because after that point they might have already addressed their need for a backup or Mitchell Trubisky's competition.
The Panthers could definitely trade Newton because they have $32 million under the cap and he is in the final year of his contract.
From the Bears' standpoint, it would require a greater commitment. They have only $13.3 million under the cap and would be bringing in a bigger salary with Newton.
Whether the two could operate on the same roster this season is unlikely. It might also mean the Bears would have to get rid of Trubisky.
Perhaps they could trade Trubisky for Newton? Schuyler Callihan of AllPanthers.com seems to think new Panthers coach Matt Rhule would like a chance to develop a quarterback and Trubisky could fit this role.
It's true the Bears could sign Newton if they agreed to trade compensation. They would have to do it by signing Newton to an extension and then turning some of his $18.6 million in salary into guaranteed bonus cash. The deal would have to be long term enough to float the rest of the guarantee.
There definitely would be no cap savings by getting rid of Trubisky's salary for the Bears because Trubisky's $9.23 million of cap space is guaranteed this year. The Bears are eating all of it if he's traded.
The Bears most likely would have to cut Prince Amukamara, Taylor Gabriel and maybe another player if a Trubisky-for-Newton deal came off. They might have to cut those players anyway. They also would need to restructure more salaries.
And then there's the issue of what acquiring Newton would take besides trading Trubisky. If they could get him for a middle-round draft pick it could be a steal.
Then again, it wouldn't be worth it to give up any more if Newton is going to be as banged up as he has been the last few years when he had surgery to repair Lisfranc ligaments and a shoulder.
Remember also, Newton it's been since 2015 when Newton had a season better than the one Trubisky had in 2018. It's been a long time since Newton was doing his Superman act and he hasn't been getting any younger.
It's no given Newton will be fine after the Lisfranc surgery. Such surgeries in the past have occasionally been real problems for players.
And then there's the issue of his throwing shoulder after surgery. His throwing motion changed and he never really tested it out to a great extent before the foot injury sent him to IR.
The Panthers would be asking a team to take a very big leap of faith to trade for Newton, so the compensation couldn't be too high besides getting Trubisky in return.
The risk, the cap situation, Newton's condition and the fact Bears GM Ryan Pace seems way too attached to Trubisky combine to make this scenario very unlikely.
So am I telling you there's a chance?
Bottom line: One in a million.