No, Cam Newton Isn't a Fit For Seahawks

The Seahawks will be without Russell Wilson for the first time since 2011. Naturally, this fact is leading to a lot of questions about who should replace him. But the most popular answer isn't necessarily the right one.
Author:
Publish date:

Any time a starting quarterback job opens up, there is always a large group of people advocating for certain quarterbacks to replace the injured party, using the logic that QB "X" is better than your backup. Right now, QB "X" is former MVP and longtime Panther Cam Newton. But Newton isn't actually the best answer for a team like the Seahawks, at least not right now.

It makes sense that people would want Newton. He's a big name with a lot of pedigree and is certainly deemed to be more talented than Geno Smith. But there are a lot of issues surrounding this idea, both on and off the field. I should preface this argument by saying that I am a fan of Cam Newton. I think he's fun to watch and should absolutely be in the league somewhere. However, that place shouldn't be in Seattle.

Let's start with the obvious that many advocates seem to be ignoring: Newton has to learn a brand-new system before he could start. Smith, on the other hand, knows this offense. He understands the weaponry. He has incurred a certain trust and belief in the building. Newton has none of these things going for him. 

Signing Newton and naming him the starter forces Seattle to play a brand new offense that is built around Newton's strengths, and quick redesigns aren't easy to pull off in the NFL.

Because of these issues with the playbook, Newton would likely need a few weeks of practice before coaches would feel comfortable playing him. The latest reports indicate that Russell Wilson's injury may keep him out for just four-to-five weeks, rather than the initial projection of six-to-eight weeks. If Wilson returns in four weeks, Newton would, at most, get two starts and would then likely head back into free agency.

And this arrangement may not interest Newton. Why would the former MVP want to hang around and practice for a month, only to find himself looking for work shortly thereafter? In addition, how much money does Newton want? Is he willing to come in at a reasonable price? Even if your plan is to keep Newton as the new backup once Wilson returns, it is still fair to ask if the former would be okay with that arrangement.

None of these points even take into account the decline in Newton's play the past few years. Over his last 31 starts, Newton does have an impressive 65.9 completion percentage but also has just 32 touchdowns to 24 interceptions. He's also dealt with his fair share of injuries, which basically wiped out his entire 2019 season. Newton is at his best when he's used as a battering ram around the goal line, rushing for 12 touchdowns in 2020.

Newton still has enough skill to play in the NFL and I hope he gets his shot. If Wilson's injury was more severe, I would absolutely welcome a Smith vs. Newton competition for the remainder of the season. What's more, if the Seahawks do decide to move on from Wilson this offseason, it is easy to see Newton as the logical placeholder. But for one month of service, fresh off the scrap heap, in a brand-new offense, the Seahawks are simply better off with Smith.