Cam Newton Trade Rumors: 'All Bets Are Off' for Redskins If QB Is Available

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2020

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) reacts following running back Christian McCaffrey's touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Mike McCarn/Associated Press

The Washington Redskins would reportedly have interest in Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton if he is placed on the trade block.

According to ESPN fantasy football expert Matthew Berry, sources said former Panthers and new Redskins head coach Ron Rivera "absolutely loves" Newton. Berry added that he gets the sense Carolina would be willing to move Newton for a reasonable price.

Berry noted that while incumbent Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins has been working hard to improve this season, "all bets are off" if Newton starts to get shopped. Even so, Berry expressed his belief that the smart money is on Haskins being Washington's starting quarterback when the 2020 season begins.

The 30-year-old Newton missed all but two games last season and underwent surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury in his foot. Due to his age, injury history and contract (free agent after 2020), rumors swirled about his future with the Panthers throughout 2019.

The departure of Rivera and eventual hiring of former Baylor and Temple head coach Matt Rhule as the new head coach only furthered speculation that Newton could be on the way out.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported last week, however, that the Panthers were "moving forward" with Newton as their starter. Rapoport noted that since the recovery timeline from foot surgery remains somewhat uncertain, trading Newton would be a difficult endeavor for the Panthers.

Rapoport also reported that Rhule was "encouraged" by Newton's desire to return to "top form" and how he has handled his rehab.

When asked about Newton's status by reporters at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, Rhule said he "absolutely" expects Newton to be on the roster when the 2020 season begins.

Newton has missed 16 games over the past two seasons after missing a total of three in his first seven NFL campaigns. Because of that, there is some worry that all the punishment he has taken over the years is catching up with him.

The 2011 No. 1 overall draft pick out of Auburn is a three-time Pro Bowler who won the MVP award and led the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015 with Rivera as his coach.

Newton has never really returned to the form that saw him throw a career-high 35 touchdown passes en route to a 15-1 record in 2015, but he is still among the most skilled quarterbacks in the league when healthy.

Just two seasons ago, Newton completed a career-best 67.9 percent of his passes for 3,395 yards and 24 touchdowns in 14 games, although he did throw 13 interceptions.

After the Redskins took Haskins 15th overall in last year's draft, he began 2019 as a backup. He eventually ascended to the starting role and went through some growing pains at first, but showed flashes late in the year.

Overall, Haskins went 2-5 as a starter and in nine games overall he completed 58.6 percent of his passes for 1,365 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.

The departed regime of head coach Jay Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen was responsible for drafting Haskins, so Rivera may have no attachment to him.

A healthy Newton could make the Redskins an instant factor in the NFC East, especially if they draft Ohio State defensive end Chase Young with the No. 2 overall pick, but moving on from Haskins this early in his career for a potentially injury-prone veteran would be a major risk on Washington's part.