Cam Newton is headed back to the NFL’s unemployment line.
The New England Patriots reportedly released Newton on Tuesday as part of their roster cutdowns, effectively clearing the runway for Mac Jones to be the team’s starting quarterback.
Where Newton ends up certainly is a mystery for now. Some have correctly pointed out Newton’s COVID vaccination status — which may have hurt his cause in Foxboro — could also limit his options on the open market. Whether Newton, a former MVP, is willing to back up would be another question he must answer.
It’s possible Newton waits for an injury to happen, opening up a starter’s job. It’s also possible he just doesn’t garner much short-term interest.
However, if there’s a market and he’s interested in holding a clipboard, these teams probably make most sense.
Washington Football Team: WFT makes sense for a couple of reasons. The first is Newton might be a better backup option to Ryan Fitzpatrick than Taylor Heinecke. Perhaps even more notable is Newton’s relationship with Washington head coach Ron Rivera, who coached him in Carolina for years. Then again, Rivera has been outspoken about his frustration with players not getting the COVID vaccine, so that might be a road block, too.
Dallas Cowboys: Sticking in the NFC East, the Cowboys also have a woeful backup situation with Cooper Rush standing behind Dak Prescott. There’s also no guarantee Dak Prescott — working his way back from a gruesome injury — won’t have any setbacks. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones loves big names, which Newton certainly is, and Dallas reportedly already has shown some interest.
Houston Texans: The Texans might be the most obvious choice at the moment. Deshaun Watson, it feels like, could be traded at any point. Right now, Tyrod Taylor is the starter, and he’s backed up by … Davis Mills? There’s a fit there because Newton has to be better than Davis Mills … right?
Baltimore Ravens: Another team with a shaky quarterback room outside the starter. Lamar Jackson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but he takes a whole bunch of hits every week. And while Newton isn’t the same runner he was earlier in his career, he can still tuck it in and run, which could make him a very intriguing fit in Greg Roman’s system.
San Francisco 49ers: This admittedly is a long shot. But what if the 49ers try to save some money and release (or trade) Jimmy Garoppolo before the season begins? There are problems with that scenario, aside from it being kind of crazy. The first is Trey Lance, who seemingly would be the starter should Garoppolo get the boot, is dealing with a potentially nagging hand injury. And if Newton had reservations about backing up a rookie in New England, it probably isn’t any different in San Fran. But similar to Baltimore, it would be fascinating to see how Kyle Shanahan could use a player with the size and traits of Newton under center.