NFL Insider Campaigns for Broncos to Sign QB Cam Newton
Eight years ago, the Denver Broncos rolled the dice by signing an older ex-MVP quarterback. Peyton Manning completely altered the course of the Broncos, leading the franchise to unprecedented dominance from 2012-15, which culminated in the team's third World Championship.
Trying to recapture lightning in a bottle, GM John Elway chose to acquire another former Super Bowl MVP quarterback in Joe Flacco last year. Elway hedged that particular bet by also moving up to select Drew Lock at pick 42 in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Suffice to say, the Flacco move didn't pan out but thanks to Elway's preemptive move to draft Lock, the Broncos appear to have finally 'bounced off the bottom' of the doldrums they've inhabited since Manning hung up his cleats. Denver has a good thing going and now, one of the market's most famous insiders is pounding the table for Elway to alter the team's quarterback equation by adding another ex-MVP.
Woody Paige is advocating for the Broncos to go out and sign Cam Newton, who's currently languishing on the free-agent market. The 31-year-old former No. 1 overall draft pick (2011) was released by the Carolina Panthers back in March and is coming off a 2019 season in which he missed 14-of-16 games due to a lingering, nagging foot/lower-leg injury.
Meanwhile, the Broncos went out and found their band-aid backup QB to plop behind Lock. Jeff Driskel, an NFL journeyman, is a smart, athletic signal-caller best suited to a backup, fail-safe type of roll. One thing Driskel is not? Any threat to unseat Lock as the guy. Driskel isn't even a threat to be perceived as a threat to Lock's standing as the dude in the Broncos' locker room.
Why Newton Doesn't Make Sense
Adding a star player like Newton to the mix would not only muddy that locker-room water but it would send the wrong message to Lock and to the fans. Heading into his second year, Lock needs to be given the room to grow into the franchise-caliber player the team brass believes he can be.
Besides, Newton isn't about to accept a back-up job. And even if he was, I'd have a hard time seeing Newton accept a backup job to a newcomer like Lock.
Newton is holding out in hopes that once NFL teams hit training camp this summer and the dust begins to settle on certain QB situations around the league, some GM or head coach will realize the error of his ways and come calling. Like in the case of the New England Patriots. Newton might not be a prototypical fit for Bill Belichick but at least he's proven, whereas projected starter Jarrett Stidham is the epitome of unproven and untested.
The truth is, Newton hasn't been the same since Von Miller and the Broncos defense decimated him in Super Bowl 50. In fairness, Newton has struggled with the injury bug but after taking the league by storm in 2015, when he totaled 4,500-plus yards and 45 touchdowns from scrimmage, his career arc was seemingly snuffed out in the blink of an eye (or however long it takes for Miller to jump the snap, bend the edge, and knock the ball out of the QB's hands).
I understand Paige's impulse to bolster the Broncos' QB depth because once you get beyond Lock, who has only five career starts, the pickens are slim. But this isn't a championship-or-bust season. 2020 is all about Lock and the ultimate destiny of the Broncos this season is contingent on his success.
Lock needs to be given that rope and that's exactly what Elway and company intend on doing. If current QBs Coach Mike Shula could extract an MVP performance out of Newton in 2015, I like his odds of coaching Lock through his Year 2 learning curve just fine.
When it comes to breaking news, there are few voices I trust in the Mile High City like I do Paige's. His sources reach to the highest levels of the Broncos. But in this matter of opinion, it's a slow NFL news cycle after all.