The market for free-agent quarterback Cam Newton has reportedly "cooled over the past month," which could lead the former Carolina Panthers starter to wait for teams to resume on-field activities following the coronavirus pandemic before signing a contract.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported the update Saturday and noted uncertainty about Newton's health and willingness to accept a backup job have complicated his attempt to find a new team.
The 31-year-old Atlanta native spoke with the New England Patriots after being released by the Panthers on March 24, but "nothing materialized," per Fowler.
Newton enjoyed a terrific career with the Panthers, who selected him with the first pick in the 2011 NFL draft. He was named the league's MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 2015, earned three Pro Bowl selections and led the team to an appearance in Super Bowl 50.
Injuries have derailed his career in recent seasons, though. He underwent shoulder surgery in January 2019 after missing the final two games of the 2018 season. He was limited to two appearances last year before landing on injured reserve with a foot injury, which required surgery in December.
Newton was on pace for one of his best statistical seasons before the 2018 injury. He'd completed a career-high 67.9 percent of his throws for 3,395 yards with 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions across 14 games. He added 488 rushing yards and four scores on the ground.
In March, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the quarterback passed a physical after recovering from the shoulder and foot injuries:
Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter
Cam Newton had a physical in Atlanta yesterday coordinated by the Panthers and his agency team, per sources. Newton passed the physical and is healthy, per source, with both his shoulder and foot “checking out well and he is hungrier than ever and eager for the next opportunity.”
The Patriots remain the one team where Newton could compete for the starting job, as they have the unproven Jarrett Stidham and career backup Brian Hoyer.
Otherwise, his signing will likely be dependent on his willingness to serve as a backup, at least at the outset of the 2020 season. The Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks are among the teams that could use a No. 2 QB upgrade.
The other option, and it's one Newton is seemingly considering, is waiting until training camps and the preseason get underway to see whether any key injuries arise. He'd represent the best plug-and-play quarterback available for a team, especially a contender, with a sudden need under center.