Trai Turner Thinks Chargers Signing Cam Newton Would be 'Awesome'
Jason B. Hirschhorn
Earlier this offseason, Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner saw his professional life turned upside down when the Carolina Panthers sent him away in a trade with the Los Angeles Chargers. Turner went from a core piece of one franchise's roster to an anchor for a different one on the other side of the country.
"A transition period, of course, but I'm embracing it," Turner said of the trade on the RapSheet and Friends podcast. "I'm enjoying the opportunity to just get to a new team, different city, and just experience what this has to offer for me. I'm excited about it."
Turner didn't expect a trade to happen, and for a time neither did the Panthers, who initially declined trade overtures for his services. However, after word of the interest in Turner spread around the league, more offers came. Eventually, Carolina determined that the opportunity to land Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung, whom the Chargers sent in the deal, represented enough value to part with a guard of Turner's caliber.
"I guess it's a good thing some teams wanted me," Turner said with a laugh.
Now, Turner joins forces with fellow offseason acquisition Bryan Bulaga, returning veteran center Mike Pouncey (if medically cleared to return from a neck injury), and a group of young offensive linemen that hope to form one of the better units in the league.
But while Turner expressed excitement about his new NFL home, he wouldn't mind seeing another former member of the Panthers join him in Los Angeles: quarterback Cam Newton.
"We talk," Turner said of Newton. "We still have conversations about that. I think right now his biggest thing is to be 100% healthy, which I think he is. Not just physically, but mentally also. To see what his next phase would be in his career. I do believe that he's a starter in the NFL. I don't know where that'll be. It may or may not be with the Chargers. If he is, that'll be awesome. And if it's Tyrod [Taylor], that's still great. I like whoever's back there. So, I'm excited about that."
Generally, quarterbacks of Newton's caliber don't hit the open market. However, a combination of health concerns and the inability of team medical staffs to examine Newton due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis have resulted in him lingering on the open market. Even so, Turner still has trouble wrapping his head around the Panthers letting a former MVP signal-caller go in the first place.
"It's crazy, man," Turner said. "I'll give you some insight. We were able to sit down a few times and talk before other stuff went down with me or him. And it was kind of like how our season's going and looking forward to the new season or whatever like that. And then boom. I got up out of there. And boom, he got up out of there. So, it just shows you how fast things could change over and the turnover in the league. But I was really surprised by it, man. I don't think I saw it coming. Maybe you did. Maybe he did. But he didn't give me too much of an inkling on it. I was surprised to say the least."
It remains unclear whether the Chargers have interest in adding a veteran like Newton. Given the proximity of the 2020 NFL Draft, they might prefer to wait and see if they land a quarterback of the future and revisit Newton if they don't. Regardless, the situation bears monitoring as the offseason progresses.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH