One could argue most franchises in the NFL should regret not signing Cam Newton this offseason, seeing as the veteran quarterback has been excellent in his first two games with the New England Patriots while playing under a very team-friendly contract.
Even in situations where the starter was obvious, adding Newton would have provided solid QB insurance to guard against injury and/or underperformance.
NBC Sports’ Peter King believes three teams, in particular, should really regret not signing Newton, who was released by the Carolina Panthers in March after nine seasons with the organization: the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos.
“What’s the object of the game in the NFL? The object of the game is to get the best team you can, 1-53,” King said Tuesday on “PFT Live” with Mike Florio. “So, if you are the Jacksonville Jaguars, I don’t career how much in love you are with Gardner Minshew. That is a place where there was a crying need for depth at the quarterback position.”
The Jaguars instead handed the keys to Minshew without question after trading Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears.
The Browns, meanwhile, have Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018, as well as a viable backup in Case Keenum. But King still wonders whether Cleveland should have considered Newton in order to push Mayfield, who underperformed in 2019 after showing great promise in his rookie season.
“I think we all get caught up in saying, ‘Let’s be fair to the guy we drafted first overall.’ Well, OK, that’s fine. You’ve seen him for two years. Are you positive? No, you’re not positive,” King said. “So, bring in a guy to stick the little bur at him. That’s would I would’ve done had I been (general manager) Andrew Berry and the Cleveland Browns.”
The Broncos have high hopes for Drew Lock, even surrounding the 2019 second-round pick with more weapons this offseason. Unfortunately, he suffered a shoulder injury Sunday that’s expected to sideline him for three to five weeks, thrusting Jeff Driskel into action and paving the way for Denver to sign Blake Bortles.
“I know how much you want Drew Lock to get a clean landing strip and to be able to sink or swim on his own. I get that,” King said. “But especially in an era when you don’t know if you have the long-term guy — you think you do, but you don’t know. If I were Denver, I would have brought Cam in to see, ‘Hey, go at it in training camp and let the best man win.’ “
Newton will become a free agent after this season unless the Patriots sign the 31-year-old to a contract extension in the coming months. So, those teams that passed on him this past offseason will have another crack at signing the 2015 NFL MVP.
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