Broncos Urged to Trade for Panthers QB Cam Newton

Chad Jensen

The NFL trade deadline is on October 29 and while there has been no indication that the Carolina Panthers plan to move veteran QB Cam Newton, the Denver Broncos have already been implored by at least one media company to pursue the former league MVP. 

Newton started the first two games of this season before succumbing to a foot sprain. Kyle Allen has since started for the Panthers and has done nothing but win. Carolina now sits at 4-2 after getting out to an ugly start, and while I'd credit that mostly to the Herculean effort of RB Christian McCaffrey, Allen most definitely has been a revelation. 

Not only is Allen 4-0 as a starter, but he's thrown zero interceptions since taking over as the starter in Carolina. Impressive. 

On Tuesday morning, Bleacher Report's Adam Lefkoe proposed that the Broncos should pursue Cam Newton via trade from Carolina. We're talking about the former No. 1 overall draft pick and 2015 NFL MVP after all. 

Judging from the number of questions I've received from fans on social media already, Newton might sound attractive to a Broncos fanbase that has been starved for even marginal QB play but let me explain why that would be a bad idea. 

The Flacco Albatross 

First off, the Broncos are committed to Joe Flacco financially, at least in the short term. The team (in my estimation) jumped the shark when it restructured Flacco's contract on the doorstep of the regular season, which freed up $12 million in cap space in the present but turned Flacco's contract into a future albatross around the Broncos' neck. 

The remaining years on Flacco's contract when the team acquired him via trade from Baltimore this past spring were basically a series of three one-year deals. Where before the Broncos had no liability if the team decided to move on from Flacco after the 2019 season, now a significant dead money cap charge would accompany such a move. 

Because the Broncos added two additional years to his contract, and converted a huge chunk of his 2019 salary into a signing bonus, Per Over The Cap, the Broncos would be faced with a $13.6M dead money charge by moving on from Flacco before June 1 in 2020 alone. Yuck. What a grievous miscalculation that was by GM John Elway. 

What that means is that if the Broncos did acquire Newton via trade, it would have to include Flacco in the deal. The Broncos wouldn't be able to afford carrying both contracts, A.) and B.), the Panthers would have to be willing to take on Flacco's albatross of a contract. 

No team is going to do that, and certainly not the Panthers in their current state. But even if we were to pretend that the cap constraints didn't exist, trading for Newton would still be ill-advised for the Broncos. 

Walking Wounded

He might be 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds but Newton has really struggled to stay healthy the last few years. From a shoulder injury that compromised his 2018 season to now the foot sprain, Newton's recent string of bad luck has led some to wonder if he might be the next Andrew Luck to just quietly retire from the NFL while still in his prime. 

The cycle of pain and treatment has obviously worn Newton down, like it did Luck. I'm not saying Newton is considering retirement but he has clearly been diminished by his protracted struggles with the injury bug. 

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Glory Days in the Rearview

Newton is not the same player who led the Panthers on a dominant postseason run that culminated in a Super Bowl 50 berth. The odds that he'll ever be that guy again are slim.

Now, that doesn't mean Newton isn't talented or that he brings nothing to the table as a starting QB, but he is a shell of his former self. Plus, even when he's 100 percent, his accuracy as a passer is extremely suspect and his pocket presence? See Super Bowl 50. We're talking about a QB with a career completion percentage below 60% (59.6). 

All About Drew Lock

The Broncos need to go young at the QB position and go all-in on a hand-picked and homegrown signal-caller, a la Drew Lock. Pursuing Newton, even if it made cap sense, would be just another lateral move toward a band-aid starter. 

Yes, the Broncos have the young weapons on offense, as Adam Lefkoe points out, which makes Flacco's ineffectual play all the more frustrating. But Newton isn't exactly the type of QB at this stage in his career that raises all ships. If he's still a franchise QB, it's only in the nominal sense and it's based off his resume not his current wherewithal as a player.

It'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out in Carolina. But one thing I can say with near absolute confidence is that if the Panthers officially put Cam Newton on the trading block, the Broncos won't be buyers. Be grateful for that. 

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen and @MileHighHuddle.

Comments (25)
No. 1-14
Badbrew77
Badbrew77

Boy Chad the more articles I read by you the more I believe we are kindred spirits I couldn’t be more in agreement with you! Not only would trading for Newton be horrible because at this point he is nothing but damaged goods but what you didn’t point out is you would have to completely change your offense to accommodate what Newton does. Newton is far more effective when running the ball than passing it so you would have to add read option runs along with other runs to keep Cam’s ego happy. The main reason Kyle Allen and the Carolina offense is looking so good is that they are running Norv Turner’s offense they way it’s supposed to be run. Also agree totally on Flacco as well it was just plain stupid to add guaranteed money beyond this year but it’s what you expect from Elway at this point just another bad decision that he will just gloss over and yet another reason why this team needs a true owner! If this team hasn’t won more than 4 games going into week 10 it’s time to play Lock and see what he is give him the last 5 meaningless games and see what he is. Right now Drew Lock is the future trading for Cam at this point would be just another step backwards for the organization.

CUBuffinTX
CUBuffinTX

Frankly I always considered Newton a coach killer. There is a lot more meh there then champion. I would not have traded for him 5 years ago and now it’s a laughing matter. Cam Newton is just a dude nothing more

Timer10
Timer10

Cam has not been worth a crap since the Broncos beat the heck out of him in SB 50 he found out he is not invincible Even considering him for anything but a back-up at this poi t in time is ridiculous he is done Allen has taken his job and playing far superior to Cam the team is now well balanced with him out of the line up

Denverkewl
Denverkewl

Agreed...we already have guys that run the ball...we'll see if Flacco continues his career year...that said, I found Tom Pelessaro's review of the restructuring interesting...a very different take than yours: https://in-thinair.com/2019/09/27/explaining-the-restructure-of-joe-flaccos-contract/ If I understand him right, it was a pay now or have to pay later situation once the contract guaranteed this season. Plus there is a carry over offset if he is cut [he won't be but could be traded at some point] PLUS - all these IR and new players had to be paid under the cap and new deals for Jano and whomever is next as well. Sometimes these moves are not about one player but addressing a more involved situation.

BobMorris
BobMorris

Commenting on the cap and contract situation:

For the Panthers, trading for Flacco this season is not a big deal to them. They would only take on the remainder of his base salary this year, which became $1.5M after the Broncos converted base salary into a signing bonus. They would get a cheap backup, then could cut him after the season and not owe him any more money, because his remaining base salaries aren't fully guaranteed.

Doesn't mean it's good for the Broncos, though. They would have take on the remainder of Newton's base salary this year, which is $16.2M and fully guaranteed under the vested veteran rule.* That amounts to about $10M if you traded for him now, which then eats up the cap space they freed when they did the Flacco restructure. That means they can't carry over that cap space into 2020.

They could just cut Newton after the season because his 2020 salary isn't guaranteed. Still, you want that cap space you currently have for possibly extending other players or to carry over into 2020.

Regardless, the moment is past due for Broncos fans to stop pining for other veterans. Joe Flacco is the only veteran who should start for the Broncos until either Drew Lock shows he's ready or, failing that, the Broncos get a QB in 2020 and he takes over like Daniel Jones took over for Eli Manning.

  • A reminder about the vested veteran rule: Base salaries that aren't guaranteed upon signing, become guaranteed if the player is on the 53-man roster for Week 1 of that season. It does mean, though, that you can cut the player at any time before the roster is set that date and you don't owe the player the money.
Shoshe
Shoshe

Doesn't anyone else remember Newton diving AWAY from the fumble in the Super Bowl, then in the post game whining and crying about it? He has zero heart, I would rather have any other quarterback than Newton

JamieCumbee 1
JamieCumbee 1

We definitely dont want flacco in carolina. If carolina gets him trade him to miami for a bag o chips. Cam will be back and with a vengeance. Watch and see. In 2 weeks when Allen plays a good defense that will expose his fumbles and I. Predicting he will throw 2 picks against the 49ers and 2 fumbles. You heard it hear first.

ErickTrickel
ErickTrickel

Editor

This is a really dumb idea. Newton hasn't been the same since a certain Super Bowl

BlackDogClan
BlackDogClan

Could probably pick up Kaepernick for a reasonable price.

CUBuffinTX
CUBuffinTX

I am not going to get lost in the controversy, and I advocated for Kaep back when he came to town and Elway tried to get him to take a pay cut. That was 4+ years ago. Collin Kaepernick is NEVER playing in the NFL again. There is no way as much as I liked him he is in any shape or form football ready. Like Vince Young, Tim Tebow, count Kaep in this same group. If you love football as much as you claim you do why didn't you go to the CFL and prove everybody wrong. One year of success at the level everyone that keeps beating that drum Kaep can still play at and he is back in the NFL. He has other things that are more important to him then playing football and those are just the plain facts.

jareal333
jareal333

This is the most relevant quote from the article and can be applied to most of what Elway has done. "What a grievous miscalculation that was by GM John Elway."

debil orange
debil orange

I'm not sure where Mr. Jennsen is getting his information from however, Cam Newton will never become a Bronco! The only pressure they are getting to sign this millionaire disaster is from some media types and Cam Newton fans & followers. He has had his 5 minutes of fame. This man will become a cancer on any team that decides they want to trade for him. He still hasn't grown up and he has no ability to accept criticism. When he is no longer the one in the spotlight, this self proclaimed "Superman" starts pouting and he begins to act out. He has been doing this since our Broncos shut him and the Panthers down in Super Bowl 50. I would rather they bring back Siemian or The Brockinater before they would even consider signing him. It will not matter which team he may end up with if the Panthers decide to part ways with him. He will create a negative environment wherever he may go.


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