Cam Newton Rumors: QB Open to Backup Role with Right Team After Panthers Release

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2020

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Mike McCarn/Associated Press

Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has reportedly "not ruled out" accepting an offer to serve as a backup during the 2020 season if it's the "right situation."

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported the update Thursday:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From NFL Now: Free agent QB Cam Newton has not ruled out a backup QB job in the right situation, I'm told. He wants to be (and should be) a starter. But he's open to being a backup. https://t.co/g89M6vAgyv

The quarterback outlook around the league suggests Newton may have little choice beyond accepting the No. 2 spot on a team's depth chart. Most organizations feature either a player who's locked in to the starting job or multiple QBs already part of a competition.

Although the New England Patriots make the most sense on paper with a quarterback room currently led by Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer, Joseph Person of The Athletic reported Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels "wasn't necessarily high" on the 2015 NFL MVP while talking to the Panthers about their head coaching job.

Other potential fits include the Jacksonville Jaguars, who could use a veteran backup for Gardner Minshew II, and the Washington Redskins, led by Ron Rivera, Newton's former coach in Carolina.

Rivera explained during an appearance on Good Morning Football last week he's "thought about" signing Newton, but it "depends on circumstances."

The 30-year-old Atlanta native was limited to two appearances because of a foot injury in 2019. He was released by the Panthers in March.

Newton enjoyed a strong 2018 campaign, though. He completed 67.9 percent of his throws for 3,395 yards with 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 14 games. He added 488 rushing yards and four scores on the ground.

Joining a contender as a backup on a short-term deal could be his best bet.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have longtime starter Ben Roethlisberger, but he's coming off a season-ending elbow injury, and his replacements last year, Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, remain the chief reserves despite combining for 18 TDs and 17 INTs in 2019.

That type of situation, where he'll be a clear backup to open the season but will have a reasonable chance to see playing time at some point during the year, may be the best Newton can hope for at this stage.

The other option is waiting for training and the preseason to see whether any injuries arise that could allow him to jump right into a starting spot elsewhere.