Five Reasons Why Cam Newton Remains Unsigned

Jason Huber
May 28, 2020 - 12:23 pm

The Carolina Panthers released quarterback Cam Newton on March 24. 

He's still a free agent over two months later. 

Since then, it's felt like the 31-year old former league MVP hasn't even come close to finding a potential suitor. 

While his release was later in free agency, many teams have signed quarterbacks since then. None close to the level of Newton. 

With the New York Jets signing former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco last week, Newton is officially the only quarterback that was a starter last season still on the open market.

The debates can go on for days about why Newton hasn't been signed but it felt easier to break it down into five potential reasons why he's still a free agent and a few teams that could still sign him. 

1. Teams aren't able to give him a full physical 

One of the biggest questions that have been asked is that if there wasn't a pandemic, would Newton still be sitting at home?

Newton's final two years with the Panthers saw him go through two major injuries and surgeries. 

In 2018, Newton underwent shoulder surgery, his second in two years, and during his return in the 2019 preseason, Newton suffered a Lisfranc injury on his left foot, which was originally thought to be a sprain. 

As a running quarterback, the possibility of Newton being unable to run like he once could is concerning since he hasn't been the most accurate passer during his career. 

Teams never got to see whether Newton's shoulder was completely healed due to his foot injury and now teams are unable to see if his foot has healed properly.

Those are two huge risks and with teams being unable to give him a medical evaluation due to coronavirus, nobody has seen him aside from on his Instagram videos.

Yes, players like Flacco haven't even been cleared yet and there are much worse quarterbacks getting contracts, but that leads us to the next possibility...

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
2. The magnitude of signing him is too big

Newton has been one of the most polarizing figures in the NFL since he was drafted first overall in 2011. 

During his time in the league, Newton has never had any off-the-field incidents but many people haven't been fans of his outgoing touchdown celebrations, attitude on the sidelines, and his overall high confidence. 

Whichever team ends up signing Newton will get a plethora of media heading to their city and will be on the front page of all sports media outlets. 

Newton has been the face of the Panthers for years and even with him no longer being on the team, he has still sparked controversy about how his release and time with the team was handled. 

Signing a player like Flacco, Nick Foles, Jameis Winston, or Brian Hoyer doesn't create anything close to the publicity that Newton's addition will create. 

But what if he agrees to be a backup? That leads us to the next point...

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
3. He isn't viewed as being a backup 

Newton has never been a backup quarterback in the NFL. 

He barely missed any games until his injuries over the last 16 months. 

So, at age 31, has he realized that there aren't any starting jobs available for him? 

There are still teams that don't have a set-in-stone starting quarterback (Patriots, Jaguars, Bears) but they have guys that they believe have the potential to work their way into that role.

Even if Newton agrees with a team to be a backup, the questions will still be asked whenever the starter struggles if Newton should get a chance to start?

For young quarterbacks like Mitchell Trubisky, Dwayne Haskins, Gardner Minshew and Jarrett Stidham, if a player like Newton were to come onto their respective team, he would create an environment of the media vouching for him, which could derail the potential of those players. 

It also leads to the next potential reason...

4. His price is too high 

By cutting Newton, the Panthers saved around $19 million entering the final year of his five-year contract that he signed in 2015 after his MVP and Super Bowl year. 

We don't know the mindset of Newton or his agent but does he have any reason to accept a cheap offer?

Winston, the 2014 No. 1 overall pick just sign a one-year, $1.1 million deal with the New Orleans Saints, which was a surprise, but he isn't on the same level Newton once was.

If teams are offering Newton small deals, he may believe it's best to keep waiting until a team is desperate to give him something half of what he wants. 

But is he worth it? That brings us to the final possibility...

Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for IMG)
Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for IMG)
5. His best days are behind him 

This is a touchy one because fans have been very split about whether Newton still has it in him.

At age 31, Newton isn't old, but for a mobile quarterback, one is left wondering whether he can ever get back to the electrifying form he showed his first five years in the league?

If Newton is unable to run like he used to or throw close to what he used to, how valuable is he? 

Once again, there are plenty of quarterbacks that have nowhere near the amount of talent that even an injured Newton holds but teams don't want the media distraction of signing him. 

Well, which teams could still sign him? 

-New England Patriots

The Patriots have seemed like the best place for Newton to go since they lost Tom Brady in free agency and haven't replaced him with anyone noteworthy. 

Second-year quarterback Stidham is expected to start with Hoyer backing him up.

Newton playing under Bill Belichick would be must-see and if Newton is healthy, New England's dynasty could continue. 

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
-Jacksonville Jaguars 

Minshew will be the Jaguars starter after a decent rookie season but nobody outside of Jacksonville truly believes he is the long-term answer for the Jaguars. 

Jacksonville is in full rebuild mode but if they start to win more than they think and Minshew is struggling, Newton could be the perfect guy to sign.

-Washington Redskins

The chance for Newton to reunite with his former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera could still be in the cards.

While Rivera, now the head coach in Washington has made it clear that Haskins is the guy and former Panther Kyle Allen is the backup that will compete for the starting job, if things don't pan out, Rivera might just decide to give Newton a call.

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
-Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh would be a nice destination for Newton to go and backup Ben Roethlisberger, who is injury prone.

If Roethlisberger were to get hurt again, Newton could step in and potentially be the Steelers guy for the next few years. 

Other potential destinations: Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers 

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