Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is 31 years old and coming off a season that saw him play just two games because of injury.
He remains unsigned, and Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated suggested teams around the league believe he is no longer the same quarterback who won NFL MVP and led his team to a Super Bowl appearance.
"Not saying he can't bounce back," one general manager said. "But the decline is evident."
Breer assessed why Newton has not found a landing spot by this point of the offseason and noted the injury concern—especially in an offseason with travel restrictions in place and limited opportunity for team doctors to evaluate him—as well as the fact that "starting quarterback and backup quarterback are two different jobs, with different job descriptions" have come into play.
While Newton is more talented with a far better resume than most, if not all, backup quarterbacks in the league, having someone with his list of accomplishments in the quarterback room as the second-string option could lead to playing-time controversy.
Still, it is surprising to see someone with a league MVP, Super Bowl appearance, three Pro Bowl selections and an Offensive Player of the Year looking for a job in May.
The concerns about his health are fair after the 2019 campaign, but he has also posted a number of pictures and videos of his workouts on Instagram that certainly make him appear ready to return to the field.
During his last full season in 2018, Newton completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while adding 488 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
He may not be the same version of himself who won the MVP in 2015, but those are numbers many teams would accept from the quarterback position. That apparent belief in his decline, though, as well as lingering questions about his health, has led to one of the defining quarterbacks of a generation still searching for a team to call his own.