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Father Time is changing the career prospects of even the NFL’s most exciting players. Cam Newton is not immune, although he still has his Superman party. Yet he still has options in free agency.
In a text to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Newton revealed that clubs have shown interest in him.
Before anyone talks about the best team for Newton, we need to understand what he’s adding to a foul as he’s clearly going backwards.
Between 2017 and 2019, Newton underwent multiple shoulder surgeries and a foot procedure due to a Lisfranc injury, which may have accelerated the deterioration of his game. Over the past two seasons, he made a one-year stop with the New England Patriots and returned to the Carolina Panthers, where he threw 3,341 yards, 12 touchdowns and 15 interceptions with a 63 percent completion rate.
In his 11-year career, Newton has thrown more than 4,000 yards only once (his rookie campaign), over 24 touchdowns once (his 2015 All-Pro year), and completed at least 60 percent of his passing attempts in only four seasons.
With a low volume of passing production mixed with inefficiencies even in his prime, Newton will find it difficult to land a runway for the 2022 season at age 32, due to successive underpowered campaigns. In 2021 he had the chance to re-establish himself in a starring role with five starts, but eventually took a back seat to Sam Darnold.
However, Newton’s athleticism and ball-carrying ability could extend his career. Despite his disappointing performances with the Patriots and Panthers over the past two years, he led or tied for both teams’ most hasty touchdowns, scoring 17 times on the ground during that span. The 6’5″, 245-pounder registered all but one of the hasty touchdowns within 12 meters of wages.
Newton can still contribute to a team in close range and in-goal situations with the threat of overpowering defenders with a pitch into the field.
As Newton indicated in his text to Schefter, he wants to help a winning team with a chance to play a significant role. After finishing on the sidelines behind Darnold in a 5-12 Panthers squad last season, he will likely look elsewhere for opportunities.
Where should Newton go in the next chapter of his career? Three teams met his expectations.
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After the Seattle Seahawks were traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, they destroyed their immediate chance of winning a Super Bowl, but opened a vacancy at quarterback, which may appeal to Newton.
In exchange for Wilson, Seattle acquired Drew Lock, but the former Broncos quarterback know he must compete to get the starting kink with his new team:
†Nothing is promised – as I would like. I wish they would come here and tell me that I have to earn it, that I have to come and work, that I have to come and join in. I have to play well. There are many things I have to do to show this organization that I have to be the one taking those pictures. But at the moment nothing is promised. It’s just my job to come in and work extremely hard and compete for that runway†
Meanwhile, head coach Pete Carroll expressed reservations about Lock’s playing style and what his coaching staff should be working with him on.
On Tuesday, Carroll said the team has “high hopes” for Geno Smith and spoke of the signal caller’s familiarity with the Seahawks system (h/t CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson†
Smith was serviceable when Wilson was sidelined through injury last year, completing 68.4 percent of his passes for 702 yards, five touchdowns and one interception in four games.
However, Smith has only started five games in the past six seasons and has worse career numbers (58.8 completion percentage, 34-37 TD-INT ratio) than Lock (59.3 completion percentage, 25-20 TD-INT ratio).
If Newton signs with the Seahawks, he would have a fair shot at winning the quarterback league.
Even if the franchise drafts a rookie in the first round, Newton’s experience should give him the upper hand. He is also said to have some quality pass-catching weapons in wideouts DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and tight end Noah Fant.
Las Vegas Raiders
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The Las Vegas Raiders have involved in contract extension talks with quarterback Derek Carr, so Newton won’t get a chance to start with this team. However, he can help the offense in some area.
Last season, the Raiders struggled hugely in the red zone, ranking 26th in touchdown conversion rate (51.7 percent).
While the addition of wide receiver Davante Adams and his synergy with quarterback Derek Carr (as former Fresno State teammates) should solve some of the red zone problems in the passing game, Newton could help tackle the problem on the ground.
Last season, Vegas finished in 18th place in hasty touchdowns, with Josh Jacobs battling with minor injuries and a fellow Kenyan Drake breaking his ankle in Week 13.
In 2020, the Raiders’ previous regime signed Drake to retain Jacobs, but the former scored more than four hasty touchdowns in one term twice in six seasons. Newton can fill in some gaps close to the goal line for a side coming out of a playoff appearance and become the quarterback version of former fullback Zack Crockett, who scored 28 hasty touchdowns for the Silver and Black between 2000 and 2003.
Further, Carr got used to stepping off the field or queuing up at the wide receiver every now and then, while Marcus Mariota took shots under the mid-zone readings last season. Also note that Newton has a connection to head coach Josh McDaniels, who served as its offensive coordinator with the Patriots in 2020. fourth most league-wide.
Newton could become something of a mentor to another former No. 1 overall pick in Kyler Murray.
After a disappointing post-season loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Murray has been criticized for his leadership or lack thereof, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen:
Chris Mortensen †obituary
The strange atmosphere between the @AZCardinals and Kyler Murray is alarming indeed: Murray is described as self-centered, immature and finger-pointing, according to sources. Murray is frustrated with franchise and ashamed of losing play-offs to Rams and thinks he has been framed as the scapegoat
With unfavorable whispers about the departure of Murray and his agent… public with contract demands, Newton can help the 24-year-old get through a difficult journey by sharing his experiences as the face of a franchise that once signed a contract. huge contract extension† He can also become a tool on the field.
Murray has been sputtering in the second half of the last two seasons and has struggled with injuries in both campaigns. The 5’10”, 207-pound quarterback has taken many beatings as a ball carrier, with 1,242 yards and 16 touchdowns since 2020. Newton can take on some of the physical demand in the hasty offense to keep the Cardinals’ primary signal caller fresh through a slate of 17 matches.
The Cardinals lost Chase Edmonds back to the Miami Dolphins in free agency, meaning James Conner can carry more of the workload. Although the latter has a nose for the end zone (15 hasty scores last season), he missed 16 games in his five-year career.
Backup running backs Eno Benjamin, Jaylen Samuels and Jonathan Ward have no professional history of handling a large number of carries or short distance rolls.
Newton can essentially fill the No. 2 running back spot in an innovative strike under head coach and play-caller Kliff Kingsbury. The quarterback’s dual-threat skills fill a need and could potentially push the Cardinals over a hump at the end of the season.
Maurice Moton covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton†