From Heisman trophy winner to NFL MVP, Cam Newton — love him or hate him — has undoubtedly left us in awe at his talent over the years.
The 2015 campaign for Newton and the Carolina Panthers was unforgettable. With the help of a dominant defense, Newton carried a below-average offense to a 15-1 record and a trip to the Super Bowl, which ended in defeat against the Denver Broncos, sending Peyton Manning out on top in his swan song.
Ever since that season Newton has struggled with injuries and has found himself on the open market now with what seems to be no interest from other teams, but that is soon to change.
When healthy, Newton is still an above-average quarterback who oozes big-play ability and keeps defensive coordinators up at night trying to find ways to contain his explosive arm and quick yet powerful legs.
However, Newton has not shown he can stay healthy as of late, scaring teams off from his $19 million a year salary, which is team friendly for a starting quarterback under today’s salary cap but far too expensive for a backup. Newton is not only too talented to be a backup but also too charismatic. Newton has one of the most infectious smiles sports has ever seen — rivaling only Magic Johnson — making him a magnet to his teammates and coaches. That could dampen the confidence of whomever he would back up.
The past two seasons have been cut short for Newton due to shoulder injuries.
Newtown looked to be in constant pain throwing the football due to a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder in 2018. He rushed back too quickly, causing him to miss most of the 2019 season as well.
While Newton has said he feels good and ready to go, the coronavirus has put team evaluations on hold for now. The impatience of not being on a team has clearly gotten to Newton, who has consistently been posting himself working out on social media in an attempt to prove he is ready to play.
Another pause for concern for teams is the fact his former coach Ron Rivera, who is now the coach for the Washington Redskins, traded for Cam’s backup in Carolina, Kyle Allen, rather than signing Newton to back up Redskins starter Dwayne Haskins.
This may seem frustrating to Newton right now, but in hindsight this could be the best thing to happen to him in years — if he plays his cards right.
The nature of the NFL is guys get hurt; it’s inevitable. So rather than going to the first and maybe only team to offer Cam a deal right now, he can wait for the season to begin and when quarterbacks get hurt he will have his choice of the team he believes gives him the best chance to succeed and compliment his skill set.
Normally joining a team late for a quarterback is extremely difficult due to learning the playbook and attempting to creating chemistry and timing with teammates on the field. In fact, those have frankly been Newton’s weaknesses and criticisms throughout his career. Most of Newton’s game comes from improvisation and just being bigger, stronger and more talented than the other guys on the field.
Newton said when he was drafted he wanted to play only 10 years then move on to bigger and better things, but as it get closer to that benchmark, he seems to have more to prove than ever and the fire in his belly rages to show he is still the man. His opportunity will come, he just needs to stay ready and focused.
His time in Carolina has come to an end but the Cam Newton saga is far from over.