By Sawyer Hicks, Draft iD Senior Analyst
Cam Newton has been one of the most polarizing players since his arrival to the league. His incredible resume includes a Heisman Trophy, a National Championship, being drafted 1st Overall, Three Pro Bowls, an NFL MVP, a Super Bowl appearance, as well as being the best rushing quarterback of all time. Despite all of these accomplishments, he has been riddled with injuries that have changed him from being the same player that he once was. He only played in 2 games last year with the Panthers then was ruled out for the year. This past offseason saw Cam being left out of most team’s plans due to the uncertainty surrounding his checkered injury history. This led to the Patriots, who had a huge, Tom Brady-sized hole to replace, to take a 1 year flyer on Cam to see if he could recapture some of his former magic. That unfortunately hasn’t worked out for either side with the Patriots being eliminated from the playoffs, but Cam has played admirably despite contracting COVID and having a complete lack of weapons. He has been one of the best rushing quarterbacks this year and has shown his ability to produce on the ground at this stage of his career. Although it isn’t ideal for a starting quarterback to be so ineffective at passing, his unique skill set could be an interesting addition to some teams…
Cam will never be a full time starter again after this year, so he is going to need to get creative with what he can bring to the table. He would make a terrific backup for any team and would give coaches the opportunity to use new innovatives ideas for their offense. They could make short yardage or goal line packages built around him, where defenses have to remain honest against the pass due to his years of being an elite quarterback. I would imagine teams that have extremely non-mobile starting quarterbacks such as the Raiders, Rams, Colts, Buccaneers, and 49ers would be in play for this type of role on their team because Cam would be beneficial in that element while also giving him the ability to showcase his talents once more if the starter goes down due to injury. Another possibility for him will be to sign with a team to create some competition in the quarterback room, giving him the potential to be a full-time starter if he wins in training camp. Some possible teams this could happen with due to poor QB play, old quarterbacks not playing up to par, or just sheer uncertainty regarding these teams at the position are the Steelers, Bears, Dolphins, Jaguars, and the Washington Football Team, pending the draft.
Finally, for the solution we most want to see is for Cam to continue his career as a starting NFL player would be a position change from quarterback. We have seen time and time again, ineffective quarterbacks making a position change which causes their careers to turn around. Some current notable examples include Taysom Hill, Logan Thomas, Julian Edelman and Lynn Bowden. Cam is still one of the most athletic players in the league and the requirements to be a stud TE is elite athleticism, so it would be a seamless transition for Cam (other than learning the nuances of the position). Tight End is one of the most volatile positions in the league and it seems like every week there is a new player emerging to post good numbers, which is why Cam would definitely have a market with teams if he were to change positions. This would ultimately allow for him to finish out his career at an elite level, while getting the chance to continue being a starter and posting Pro Bowl numbers, just not at the position that he made a name for himself. Although this most likely will not happen, it would make for a great storyline and let Cam ride off into the Hall of Fame sunset still being a contributor for an NFL team.