One of the biggest names that is still available on the free-agent market is quarterback Cam Newton, who spent his last nine years playing for the Carolina Panthers. During that time, Newton took the Panthers to the playoffs four times and made one Super Bowl appearance during the 2015 season where the Panthers went 15-1 resulting in Newton being named league MVP.
Since that occurred, Newton’s career has taken a sporadic decline, and he hasn’t been able to replicate the same kind of success. While the Panthers have made only one playoff appearance since 2015.
This past season proved to be the toughest of Newton’s career, as he played in just two games after being sidelined with a foot injury. He would remain sidelined for the remainder of the season.
Once the season concluded there were a lot of questions surrounding the Panthers organization, such as “who was going to be the new head coach?” “Would Newton have his job back next year?” For their coaching hire, the Panthers would make a big splash hiring Matt Rhule from Baylor. With a new coach like Rhule coming in, Newton’s status with the team was up in the air.
At the NFL Combine, Rhule told reporters that he was “unbelievably excited” to work with Newton. Shortly after that, the Panthers would go on to sign free-agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three year $63 million deal. This meant the end of Newton’s time in Carolina as the Panthers would release him following the signing of Bridgewater.
By the time Newton was a free agent, the market for teams in need of a quarterback was rather thin. With all of that being said, there are still some teams in the NFL that could be in need of Newton’s services.
One team in particular that makes a lot of sense is the Tennessee Titans. Last year the Titans finished 9-7 and miraculously pulled off two big upsets beating the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens on the road, but ultimately losing the AFC Championship Game to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Titans were led by Ryan Tannehill who took over for Marcus Mariota midway through the season, and in doing so, managed to resurrect his career. This helped Tannehill earn himself a sizable contract extension with a four year deal for a whopping $118 million. The Titans’ investment in Tannehill signified the end of Mariota’s time in Tennessee meaning the Titans would be in need of a backup quarterback.
One of the biggest reasons why it’s paramount for the Titans to find a good backup for Tannehill is because he is someone that has been injury-prone throughout his career. Having missed 24 games in seven years due to injury.
The two other quarterbacks on the Titans roster are Logan Woodside and Cole McDonald. Woodside has struggled to stay on an NFL roster, being released three times since being a seventh-round draft pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018. McDonald was a 7th round pick out of Hawaii in the 2020 draft by the Titans.
Newton is an experienced NFL quarterback who is battle-tested and is also well-respected by players around the league. The Titans are a contending team in the NFL that wants to build on the momentum they had at the end of last season. This means that they are a team in win-now mode and an injury to Tannehill could completely derail their season.
Newton also fits the style of offense that offensive coordinator Arthur Smith likes to run. It’s a run-first offense with Derrick Henry at running back, along with an up and coming wide receiver in A.J. Brown, who knows how to use his physical traits to break tackles and his speed to outrun defensive backs.
Something that Newton rarely ever had in Carolina was dependable real number one receivers. Tennessee also has a very solid offensive line with guys like Taylor Lewan and Rodger Saffold who would be able to protect Newton to give him time to throw.
Would it be somewhat of a risk for the Titans to sign Newton considering his age and injury history? Yes. But, signing Newton can potentially be a high-risk, high reward situation for the Titans.
Putting all your eggs in one basket with Tannehill without a backup plan is not necessarily the way to go. The last thing the Titans want is to see Tannehill get hurt and let their season be unsalvageable because they had to put their faith in the hands of Woodside or McDonald.
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