In 2011 Cam Newton was drafted with the first overall pick by the Carolina Panthers and was given a four year contract worth $22 million (with a signing bonus of $14 million). In his rookie season, he made the Panthers “must watch TV” as he became the single most entertaining player in the league. His larger than life personality, rare athletic attributes for someone his size and his versatility captivated fans young and old. His sophomore season came with the ever infamous “slump” word propped at the back-end of it and even more than that, Cam was developing a reputation for being a diva, who cared more about SuperMan poses and advertisements than things that mattered in the game of football.
In his final two seasons though, Cam has worked more in the film room, reads defenses better and has become more of a leader on this Panthers team. He has been under center for the Panthers for two consecutive division titles and playoff runs. Sure, he still loves the camera and at times flashes some obnoxious antics on the field but the guy just enjoys what he’s doing. That shouldn’t be a problem. Right?
The Carolina Panthers have never said outright that Cam was their “future” or their “franchise” quarterback. Rumor mills start up every so often that management and / or coaches don’t see Cam as the guy who can elevate his play or be deserving of franchise QB money.
The pay scale for quarterbacks today is out of control. Even nonsensical at times, but one thing is certain : If you want to build an offense – you better make sure you have a quarterback that fits it. Cam brings a unique skill set, but has shown development in the departments that are needed in being a starting quarterback in the NFL. Some teams have been looking for their quarterback forever – Carolina has a guy who can play another 6 or 7 years in this league and at best be a top-10 talent.
With one more year on his rookie contract, a year that will be up in the $14 million range – time is ticking for Carolina and Cam Newton. Decisions have to be made.
If Carolina truly doesn’t believe that Cam Newton is their guy, they’d be smart to find a suitor for him, instead of letting him just walk away. Here are three teams that might find it in their best interest to acquire Cam’s services.
1. New York Jets: The Jets have a knack for having a top pick in a draft full of uncertainty in the first round. With the sixth overall pick this year, the Jets have the option of being one of the teams in play for either Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston. Here we go again. If recent history has showed us anything, it’s that the Jets have not been lucky when drafting their “quarterback of the future.” Instead of taking another blind gamble, why not acquire the services of a playoff quarterback like Cam Newton. Even trading the sixth overall pick for Cam (as long as he intends on signing long term with the Jets) is a smarter move than the aforementioned gamble. If Cam is Super-Man, New York would definitely serve as his Metropolis. After losing a personality like Rex Ryan’s, Cam Newton can fill the void and be the face of a franchise that desperately needs one.
2. Houston Texans: Maybe what Cam needs is a little southern comfort. The Texans roster as a whole is better than the Indianapolis Colts’ yet what the Colts have that the Texans don’t is a quarterback. That’s the difference between first place and second in the AFC South right now. The Texans are coached by Bill O’Brien who was so good in Penn State, even under heavy sanctions and a limited roster – he made quarterback Matt McGloin serviceable – and even developed him to be a back up QB in the NFL. O’Brien works an offense that is run heavy to set up the big play – which fits right into Cam’s bag of tricks. O’Brien is a disciplinary type of coach though and who knows if Cam is ready to shed his child-like antics yet. . .
3. St. Louis Rams: Jeff Fisher can talk all he wants about Sam Bradford being his guy, but the truth is : Enough is enough with Sam Bradford. Four years of being a starter has shown two seasons shortened by injury and two full seasons of a guy putting up average to okay numbers. Bless the Rams souls for trying to work through Shaun Hill and Austin Davis as starting quarterbacks but the truth is, they need someone now. Their defense is ready to go, they have Cam’s old Auburn teammate Tre Mason as the clear #1 running back on the depth chart and an offensive line that is far from the makeshift line in Carolina. With the right quarterback this team can be a wildcard or division contender by next year.
Other teams that come to mind but with doubt are the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Chicago Bears. These two make sense – football wise – but won’t happen simply because Carolina wouldn’t trade Cam within their division; and Chicago simply has catastrophic cap issues especially when dealing with the contract of their own quarterback Jay Cutler. Even if Chicago found a trade partner – they would definitely not be able to wash their hands free of the whole contract.
Cam Newton’s future should be in Carolina – no where else. Maybe if Carolina added to the pieces like Kelvin Benjamin and Gregg Olson – the development will come easier. He’s got all the tools, it’s just time for Carolina to go “all-in” on Cam.