Cam Newton’s Patriots tenure came to an unceremonious end on Tuesday, with the Patriots opting to release the veteran starter in a shocking move. With Newton gone, New England turns to rookie quarterback Mac Jones as its Week 1 starter.
Unfortunately for Newton, his opportunity to start in the NFL feels just about dried up. With no real starting jobs across the league open just over a week until the start of the NFL season, Newton’s most likely path to getting snaps as a starter will come as a backup somewhere.
Should Newton get consideration again entering the season, here are his best landing spots:
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QB room: Tyrod Taylor (QB1), Davis Mills, Deshaun Watson
Amid tumult and uncertainty with Deshaun Watson’s standing with the league and the team, Houston could absolutely stand from bringing in a veteran starter.
While Houston drafted Stanford’s Davis Mills in the 2021 NFL Draft, that selection felt as more of a lottery-scratch off pick than it was a pick as a true future passer.
Should Watson be deactivated this season as is speculated and reported, then Houston could turn to Newton as a starter. As of this moment, it’s probably the most sensical spot for Newton if he really wants to start in the league and squeeze the last bit of football out of his body.
Houston gives Newton the best opportunity to start Year 1 and make a case to latch on should he play well moving forward.
QB room: Jalen Hurts (QB1), Joe Flacco, Gardner Minshew II
It’s pretty apparent that no one loves a quarterback controversy more than the “QB Factory” and Philadelphia GM Howie Roseman. If the trade for Gardner Minshew didn’t solidify that, then adding Newton to an uninspiring QB room could be the next step.
Right now, Philly’s un-special QB room consists of second-year passer Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco and Minshew. There seems to be some serious trepidation surrounding Hurts’ standing as true franchise quarterback, too. At minimum, he’s not Nick Sirianni’s chosen starter and at most, he’s a stopgap while the Eagles figure out long-term plans.
With Sirianni entering Year 1 as head coach in Philadelphia, Newton provides an instant boost over backup options Flacco and Minshew and could slide into a starting role as a veteran if Hurts ends up injured or really, really bad.
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Washington Football Team
QB room: Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB1), Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen
While Ron Rivera has had opportunities to reunite with Newton, now might be the most opportune time to bring him aboard.
Washington could be a sneaky good team in 2021, if their 2020 season was any indication of future success. With a top-flight defense and an offense that features several playmakers (Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel), the WFT could be in prime position to make a run in the NFC East.
There’s also the looming doom of the Ryan Fitzpatrick cycle: Coming off a solid year with Miami, Fitzpatrick feels like he’s due for some regression (again). If and when that happens, then Newton can be a solid option off the bench to give Fitzpatrick a breather.
It also helps that Rivera and Newton have quite a bit of history and familiarity with one another.
QB room: Dak Prescott (QB1), Cooper Rush
The Cowboys released cult hero Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert on Tuesday, and with Dak Prescott coming off a pretty bad ankle injury, the QB room could use some help behind Prescott, especially with Super Bowl or Bust expectations. Prescott was also already sidelined 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 into January want: An experienced starter with playoff experience. With Dallas also presumably leaning on a healthy Ezekiel Elliott, Newton won’t have to do much in the event that Prescott does go down for an extended period of time. With a trio of good-to-great wide receivers (Michael Gallup, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb), Newton would have one of his best supporting skill position casts in his career.
QB room: Lamar Jackson (QB1), Trace McSorley, Tyler Huntley
With a run-heavy attack in Baltimore and a quarterback that has dealt with two bouts of the coronavirus (and seemingly no desire to get vaccinated), it seems like a very good match for both sides.
While Newton’s vaccination status was reportedly very divisive in New England, if Baltimore wants to maximize its chances and improve its QB depth behind Jackson, then Newton would slot in just fine behind another former league MVP.