Cam Newton’s Patriots tenure ended unceremoniously on Tuesday as the Patriots chose to release the starting veteran in a shocking move. With Newton leaving, New England look to rookie quarterback Mac Jones as a Week 1 starter.
Unfortunately for Newton, his opportunity to debut in the NFL seems almost exhausted. With no real starting league jobs open just over a week before the start of the NFL season, Newton’s most likely path to getting snaps as a starter will come somewhere as that backup.
If Newton is considered again for the season, here are his best landing spots:
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Room QB: Tyrod Taylor (QB1), Davis Mills, Deshaun Watson
Amid the uproar and uncertainty with Deshaun Watson’s position with the league and the team, Houston could absolutely defend itself from bringing in a veteran starting.
While Houston drafted Davis Mills from Stanford in the 2021 NFL Draft, that selection felt more like a lottery pick than a pick as a true future passer.
If Watson were disabled this season as is assumed and reported, then Houston could look to Newton as a starter. From that point on, it’s probably the most sensible place for Newton if he really wants to start in the league and take the last piece of football out of his body.
Houston gives Newton the best opportunity to start Year 1 and make a memorandum to remember if he plays well in the future.
Room QB: Jalen Hurts (QB1), Joe Flacco, Gardner Minshew II
It’s pretty obvious that no one likes a quarterback controversy more than “QB Factory” and Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman. If the exchange for Gardner Minshew didn’t consolidate that, adding Newton to an uninspiring QB room could be the next step.
Currently, the non-special QB room in Philly consists of second-year passer Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco and Minshew. There also appears to be some serious apprehension surrounding Hurts’ position as the franchise’s true quarterback. At a minimum, he’s not the starter of Nick Sirianni’s pick and at most, he’s a stopgap while the Eagles make long-term plans.
With Sirianni entering Year 1 as head coach in Philadelphia, Newton provides an instant boost to Flacco and Minshew save options and could slip into a starting role as a veteran if Hurts finds himself injured or really very serious.
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Washington football team
Room QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB1), Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen
While Ron Rivera has had the opportunity to reunite with Newton, perhaps now is the best time to bring him on board.
Washington could be a good underhanded team in 2021, if their 2020 season was any indication of future success. With high-level defense and an offense that has multiple playmakers (Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel), the WFT could be in first place to race in the NFC East.
There’s also the impending end of the Ryan Fitzpatrick cycle: After a solid year with Miami, Fitzpatrick feels like he has to go through some regression (again). If and when that happens, then Newton can be a solid option off the bench to give Fitzpatrick a break.
It also helps that Rivera and Newton have a bit of history and familiarity with each other.
Room QB: Dak Prescott (QB1), Cooper Rush
The Cowboys released cult heroes Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert on Tuesday, and with Dak Prescott having an ankle injury, Room QB might need some help behind Prescott, especially with Super Bowl or Bust expectations. . Prescott was also already out of this training camp with a shoulder injury, which isn’t necessarily the best omen.
Newton will give Dallas exactly what teams vying for deep runs in January: an experienced starter with playoff experience. With Dallas likely leaning on a healthy Ezekiel Elliott, Newton won’t have much to do in case Prescott falls for an extended period. With a trio of good to excellent wide receivers (Michael Gallup, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb), Newton would have one of his best supporting skills cast of his career.
Room QB: Lamar Jackson (QB1), Trace McSorley, Tyler Huntley
With an intense attack in Baltimore and a quarterback who has faced two bouts of the coronavirus (and apparently no desire to get the shot), it looks like a very good game for both sides.
While Newton’s vaccination status would have been very controversial in New England, if Baltimore is to maximize his chances and improve his QB depth behind Jackson, then Newton would place himself perfectly behind another former league MVP.