Cam Newton could be in the midst of a make-or-break week as it relates to his NFL future.
That’s the theory Stephen A. Smith floated in a video posted Monday to ESPN’s YouTube channel.
“If you thought two weeks ago was a bad week for Cam Newton when he got cut by the New England Patriots, this week might turn out to be even worse,” Smith said. “Because this week could potentially spell the end of Cam Newton’s NFL career.”
Newton remains a free agent after being cut by the Patriots, who opted to roll with rookie Mac Jones as their starting quarterback for the 2021 season.
There seemingly hasn’t been much interest in the veteran QB, whose larger-than-life persona reportedly made him a less-than-ideal backup behind Jones in New England, but Newton’s track record — three Pro Bowl selections and an MVP award in 2015 — suggests he still could receive another NFL opportunity.
Might the Washington Football Team be an option in wake of Ryan Fitzpatrick suffering an injury Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers? If not, it would be a damning indictment on what Newton has left in the tank, as WFT head coach Ron Rivera is very familiar with the 32-year-old signal-caller from their time together with the Carolina Panthers.
“All Washington has behind Fitzpatrick is some dude named Taylor Heinicke, a guy whose name you only know because it sounds like a muffler company,” Smith said. “So, you’re 0-1, expected to contend for a playoff spot, and you’ve got a damn muffler playing quarterback. And Ron Rivera’s former quarterback 1 — QB1 — for nine years is sitting at home? In football shape? A former MVP? Really?
“Ron Rivera should be calling Cam Newton. Ron Rivera should be calling him yesterday, to be quite honest with you. But what if he doesn’t? What if Rivera doesn’t make the call? What if Ron Rivera doesn’t make the call? What other team will — especially knowing that the guy who coached Cam for nine years, and needs a quarterback, still doesn’t bring him in?”
Newton acknowledged last week in a wide-ranging interview that his “aura” would have made him a “distraction” behind Jones in New England. A team with a more established starter — or able to provide a starting opportunity right away — might not have such a problem, though, and therefore it’ll be fascinating to see whether Washington or another organization reaches out in the coming weeks.
“I hope and pray Ron Rivera reaches out to Cam Newton, I do. I want to see that brother play again,” Smith said. “But if Washington doesn’t, if he doesn’t get that job, what are we to think about the rest of Cam Newton’s career moving forward? Let’s think about that.”