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With Marvin Lewis in the final year of his contract, the Bengals need to find their next head coach before they can focus on players. The question is – will a new coach also mean a new quarterback for an organization that is notoriously cheap?
Trading or cutting Carson Palmer would cost the Bengals a lot of money, but keeping him as the starting quarterback would be a huge football mistake. Palmer has regressed significantly since the early part of his career, and with Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens possibly headed out of Cincinnati via free agency, the Bungles may look to change their entire culture.
Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton has been a magnet for discussion this season for various reasons. The Auburn quarterback was the centerpiece of a media-circus recruiting scandal involving his father, and despite an ongoing investigation, it does not look like that controversy will negatively impact his NFL prospects. However, teams will definitely look into the character of the 6’6” 250 lb. Newton, who had issues with cheating and stealing a laptop at Florida before he eventually transferred to Auburn. On the field, he’s a beast.
A freakish athlete, Newton dazzles with incredible running ability and an amazing arm. He throws a beautiful deep ball and tosses would-be tacklers around like rag dolls in the pocket and as a scrambler. Amidst all the controversy, Newton has led the Tigers to their first BCS National Championship appearance, dominating each game either on the ground, through the air, or both.
There hasn't been a quarterback as physically gifted as a passer AND runner since Michael Vick in 2000. The only on-field red flags about Newton’s NFL future have to do with his transition to a pro-style offense. At Auburn, Newton essentially plays like a wildcat quarterback, running more than throwing, with most passing plays based on one or two reads and ripping it to a receiver who is wide open because the defense is so focused on stopping the run.
If he can adjust to the stronger, faster NFL defenders and learn how to read defenses and make stick throws over the middle, the sky is the limit.