Free agency has been a rough period for former Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Ever since his release from the team with one year remaining on his contract, the former NFL MVP has struggled to find a new team to play for in 2020.
NFL insider Ian Rapaport recently reported that Newton believes that he should be a starter, but also noted that he wouldn't be opposed to accepting a backup position with a team.
Injuries are the main concern that have prevented Newton from being signed. After all, his seemingly declining health as a mobile quarterback is one of the main reasons why the Panthers parted ways with him in the first place. Newton's shoulder injury in 2018 and Lisfranc injury in 2019 sidelined him for back-to-back seasons. With head coach Matt Rhule leading a rebuild in the Panthers organization, the front office believed that it was time to embrace a new quarterback to lead a new offense in 2020.
This is a tricky situation, because Newton's market value is too high to be considered as a backup. According to spotrac.com, Newton is listed as the 19th most valuable quarterback in the NFL with a market value of $15 million per year. If Newton wants to be signed at this point, he may have to take a significant pay cut.
A healthy Cam Newton is arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the league. In nine years with Carolina (including 2018 and 2019), Newton produced over 29,000 passing yards, over 4,800 rushing yards, and 166 total touchdowns. These are record-breaking statistics that would seemingly persuade many teams to sign him. However, the free agent market is all about this question: What have you done for me lately?
The problem is that teams around the NFL don't trust Newton as a reliable quarterback with the injuries. If Newton receives an opportunity to prove that he can still play on the tremendous level that he performed on prior to said injuries, he could make a bid for NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Newton seemingly understands that if he has to become a backup quarterback and climb to the top of a depth chart, then he may have to accept it since it may be the only available option for him.
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