It was roughly five years ago Cam Newton claimed NFL MVP honors for guiding the Panthers to a 15-1 regular-season record and a Super Bowl 50 appearance.
Now, the 30-year-old currently finds himself without a job.
Newton earlier this week was released by Carolina after nine seasons with the franchise. The move marked the latest changing-of-the-guard transaction by the Panthers, who fired coach Ron Rivera toward the end of the 2019 season. Newton and Rivera were a successful tandem over the course of their near-decade together in Charlotte, and Max Kellerman believes that could continue with the coach’s new team.
“I look at Washington,” Kellerman said Wednesday on ESPN’s “First Take.” “(Panthers owner David) Tepper comes in in Carolina and gets rid of Ron Rivera, successful head coach, but he’s like, ‘Yeah, the Ron Rivera-Cam Newton pairing, that’s good. I want to try to be great.’ My hat’s off to Tepper for that, but they were good. Ask Washington. Over Cam’s career, would Washington have traded their fortunes for the fortunes of the Carolina Panthers? I would think so. And what are the fortunes of a team, really? The most important two people and relationship: the head coach and the quarterback.
“I know they signed Kyle Allen. If they really do like (Dwayne) Haskins, OK, although Haskins is not Ron Rivera’s guy. So maybe you just put the band back together in Washington. If you have Ron Rivera and Cam Newton with Kyle Allen backing him up and you make a team like the one in Carolina, Washington fans would be happy. You get to a Super Bowl, you make a playoff run every now and then, you’re in the mix for the playoffs every year if Cam Newton is most of what he used to be. That’s an enormous improvement from where they’ve been in recent years.”
Perhaps Rivera isn’t totally committed to Haskins, the 15th overall pick in last year’s draft. While the Redskins coach recently noted the Ohio State product is the team’s starting signal-caller at present, he expects to see a true competition in camp this summer. Some might argue the addition of Newton could stunt Haskins’ growth, but on the flip side, the 22-year-old potentially could benefit from learning under an accomplished QB with a similar playing style.
As for other possible landing spots for Newton, Kellerman loves the idea of the three-time Pro Bowl selection replacing Tom Brady, though he doesn’t see the New England Patriots making a run at Newton.
Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images