NFL rumors: Could former MVP Cam Newton back up Jets’ Sam Darnold? No, really
Updated 11:07 AM; Today 10:39 AM
Former Panthers QB Cam Newton is a free agent.Getty Images
By Todderick Hunt | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
The Cam Newton era ended in Carolina in March when Teddy Bridgewater was dubbed the franchise’s quarterback of foreseeable future, after signing a three-year contract with the team. As crazy as that sounds, it’s even harder to believe that Newton has yet to find a new job, despite a resume which boasts an MVP, Super Bowl appearance and three Pro Bowls. Not to mention the earning potential of one of the NFL’s brightest stars.
Yet, here we are.
However, things could change for Newton if willing to suck it up for one year, before re-entering the market next offseason, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
"The thought process all along is that Newton wants to be a starter," Rapoport said. "He does want to be a starter. A former MVP, he should be a starter. But the reality is there aren't any starting jobs available, so now maybe a little bit of a shift in philosophy here.
“My understanding is that Cam Newton has not ruled out taking a backup job in the right situation.”
Sports reporter Alex Smith of SNY makes a strong argument for the Jets, where he would back up Sam Darnold.
The Jets have Darnold entrenched as their starter, but after that, there’s a need for quarterback depth. The team drafted James Morgan in the fourth round, and David Fales and Mike White are still on the roster, but finding a solid, veteran backup for Darnold could still be a priority for the Jets.
Newton in the New York media market, as a backup no less, could be a very interesting mix. Plus, would the Jets want to have Darnold looking over his shoulder every time he makes a mistake, knowing that a former league MVP is over on the bench?
Newton missed the majority of the 2019 season due to a foot injury sustained in the preseason. He’s been injury-prone throughout his career due to his high usage rate and knack for carrying the ball between the tackles, but his ability to galvanize a team in unquestioned. And he’s played through the majority of his injuries leading up to 2019.
Newton is arguably the greatest and most notable player in Panthers history, highlighted by his MVP award and Super Bowl appearance in 2015.
He made around $18 million in 2019, a bargain for a starting NFL quarterback with Newton’s resume. But, Newton will have to settle for even less if he hopes to play this year, with all of the NFL’s starting quarterback roles filled.
Cam Newton backing up Sam Darnold for the Jets? I’d have to actually see it to believe it.
But it does make, at least, some sense.
Todderick Hunt may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TodderickHunt. Find NJ.com Rutgers Football on Facebook.