SI senior writer Albert Breer joined Madelyn Burke to discuss the futures of two former number one picks, Cam Newton and Jadeveon Clowney. Breer shares what these two players should be looking for in 2020 to potentially position them for bigger contracts in 2021.
Madelyn Burke: As the 2020 virtual offseason progresses, there are still several talented players available to be signed in free agency. Joining me now is MMQB senior writer Albert Breer. And Albert, in your opinion, who are the best available free agents?
Albert Breer: Well, I look at the two obvious ones, two former number one overall picks. Cam Newton and Jadeveon Clowney. Both have health issues, and I think that's something that can't be lost here. And I think for teams looking at these players, the fact that you can't if you're another team - get your hands on Cam Newton's right shoulder or his left foot, is a problem. The fact that you can't get a look at Jadeveon Clowney's knee, is a problem as well. So those are things that are issues for both those guys. I also think another reason is sort of what the expectation was for each of them. Jadeveon Clowney thought he was going to get a deal in the neighborhood of what a Frank Clark got or DeMarcus Lawrence got, and that just wasn't out there for him this year. With Cam, it's a little more complicated than that. I think his expectation was that somebody was going to give him a starting quarterback job.
Going into it with that idea, this was not the year to be looking for a starting job somewhere. You look at what happened to Andy Dalton. You look at what happened to Jameis Winston. Joe Flacco is still out there. The guys who signed quickly were the guys that knew they were backups going into the process. Guys like Chase Daniel and Case Keenum.
As Cam was looking for a starting quarterback job that wasn't out there - and then teams had to start to process the idea of him being a backup. And a lot of teams look at the backup quarterback as almost a different job description than a starter, and Cam hasn't been a backup quarterback since he was a teenager. So you would be projecting him into that role. And so both Clowney and Newton, their situations were complicated by injuries. But there are also other reasons why they're still out there.
Madelyn Burke: Well, you mentioned their expectations for the contracts or the roles, but at this point, can you see either of these guys landing a sizable deal?
Albert Breer: I think for both guys, the best case scenario right now is go going to a place is a good fit for them. Where they can play well in 2020, go and sign a one-year deal and hope to hit it big in 2021. In the case of Cam, I think it's it may mean waiting until training camp. I know it sounds crazy because it seems like it's still a ways off. But it may mean waiting until training camp and either there's an injury somewhere or somebody is quarterback situation just isn't what they thought it was going in. And then you can come in and pounce and play right now, sign maybe a one-year deal and then you come back in 2021 with an opportunity to hit it big if you play well.
Jadeveon Clowney, same thing. The ship sailed on him getting the big contract. Too many needs have been filled across the league. Too much cap space has been used up. So if you're Jadeveon Clowney I think you go to a place where you know you're gonna be able to play well. Going back to Seattle would be one option. The scheme fits you. They know you. Maybe a place like Tennessee where you've got a connection on the coaching staff. Mike Vrabel was his position coach for four years in Houston. You go to a place where you can set yourself up for success. Hope that you have a big year in 2020. And again, just like Cam, come back in 2021. Hoping you can hit it big financially then.