Schefter: Browns Spoke To Cam Newton
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN on his podcast, the Cleveland Browns spoke to Cam Newton, but the talks never really went anywhere.
The Browns already had signed Case Keenum and obviously have Baker Mayfield when they spoke to Newton. Keenum was signed on March 16th and Newton was given permission to seek a trade the following day.
That might be why the talks never really progressed. The stated thought process since hiring Kevin Stefanski as head coach and Andrew Berry as general manager is they will look into all avenues to improve the team.
Since the talks didn't progress anywhere, it may not have been anything more than seeing if Newton had an interest in effectively using 2020 as a rehab season as a member of the Browns, allowing him to get back onto the free agent market in 2021. The response from Newton's camp is that he was likely hoping to go somewhere he had a real chance to play.
It's going to be challenging enough to get Keenum enough reps behind Mayfield to prepare for the season in fewer practices this year. Adding Newton into the mix would've made it so someone was going to get left out, but the Browns had been and continue to be committed to Mayfield.
For the Browns, this might have been an active defense as much as anything else when it comes to Newton. Essentially, if they could get Newton under contract for a year, he couldn't go somewhere else like the Pittsburgh Steelers or Baltimore Ravens. Even though the Browns don't have the New England Patriots on the schedule this year, if they were able to sign him so the Patriots couldn't, it might have potentially eliminated one potential contender vying for the seven team playoff field.
The fact that the Browns reached out to Newton isn't all that notable, except for the fact that no one else did. Perhaps that was entirely based on waiting for a window where teams could work him out to see how healthy he is before making an investment in him. Not even speaking to him is still bizarre, even just to express interest in seeing him work out when it was an option, especially as some teams would absolutely be better off with Newton on their team.
The situations are different, but this might be an early indication about the lack of interest that Colin Kaepernick may see. As with Newton, teams will want to see him work out, but if they weren't interested in planning for Newton to work out for them, how much more interested are they going to be in Kaepernick, even if it's understood that he's a backup?
Maybe teams like the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks weren't going to be interested in signing Newton, but might be interested in Kaepernick. And since the Browns were willing to call and at least inquire about Newton, even if it didn't progress to anything meaningful, have they reached out or will they reach out to Kaepernick?
The Browns have a solid quarterback room with Mayfield, Keenum and Garrett Gilbert, even if there are people waiting for Mayfield to prove his worth this year. Gilbert might not be on the final roster, optioned to the practice squad instead. If they are simply looking at ways to improve their roster, Kaepernick could certainly be an option and if Newton's market is any indication, the Browns might only be bidding against the demands of what Kaepernick will want to sign with a team.