As the Carolina Panthers hit reset on their roster in advance of the 2020 season, they first allowed longtime quarterback Cam Newton to seek a trade elsewhere, all but promising an end to the former No. 1 overall pick’s nine-year career in Charlotte. Then, the team’s three-year, $63 million commitment to Teddy Bridgewater in free agency was merely confirmation of what was to come. Now, the Panthers announced on Tuesday the former MVP, sending the QB to the open market.
Newtonat the Panthers on his Instagram account on Thursday.
But with just a few QB spots still up in the air around the league, where exactly could Newton end up?
Here are four of the most logical landing spots:
4. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders have committed to Derek Carr more times than we like to admit, and they’re also just a week removed from, who could conceivably push Carr to the bench by Week 1. Still, Vegas isn’t hurting for salary cap space after a spending spree on defense, and if, somehow, they’re able to find a taker for Carr, are we really sure Jon Gruden wouldn’t convince Mike Mayock to take another swing at a high-upside veteran with an arm unlike either that of Carr or Mariota? On a low-risk, prove-it deal, Newton would be a potential instant hit during the Raiders’ relocation.
Newton isn’t necessarily the ideal QB for Anthony Lynn, whose adoration for Tyrod Taylor and previously reported interest in Tom Brady suggests he’d rather have someone who can manage an offense and take care of the football rather than rocket-arm the ball all over the field. But let’s not pretend he wouldn’t be intrigued by Newton’s dual-threat abilities. Adding No. 1 to an L.A. offense already stocked with good weapons (Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry) would instantly boost the Chargers’ playoff chances. Getting him on a team-friendly deal also wouldn’t preclude L.A. from drafting a long-term replacement.
2. Buffalo Bills
The Washington Redskins made all the sense in the world, what with Ron Rivera’s connection to Newton, other links between Washington’s staff and Cam’s old Panthers crew, not to mention Dan Snyder’s penchant for pursuing veteran arms rather than staying the course with younger prospects. But then Rivera went out and chose Newton’s 2019 fill-in, Kyle Allen, instead, landing the ex-Carolina backup via trade. The Bills fill their spot here. As CBS Sports editor and resident Bills expert R.J. White points out, Buffalo has the cap space to carry a pricey No. 2, Allen’s playing style all but begs for an upgrade there, and Bills leadership is very familiar with Newton considering both coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane worked alongside the veteran in Carolina.
Stylistically, Brady and Newton could not be more different. But that’s kind of what makes this appealing, no? If Bill Belichick is going to go into the season without No. 12 under center for the first time in two decades, who’s to say he wouldn’t embrace a more contemporary option — as in someone still capable of damaging opponents with both their arm and legs? Newton’s health is obviously a concern, but he’d open up all kinds of possibilities for a spread-out offense. He’d benefit from New England’s ever-rotating stable of running backs. And he wouldn’t preclude the Pats from still drafting a longer-term successor or later turning to Jarrett Stidham.