Former League MVP Could Be Option for Broncos

Cam Newton

Getty Cam Newton reacts after scoring a game-tying touchdown for the New England Patriots during the second half against the New York Jets in November 2020.

Broncos Country may have felt some kind of way when news broke about the Patriots releasing quarterback Cam Newton on August 31.

But before the Orange and Blue faithful get flustered, there should be little-to-no interest in adding the former league MVP. General manager George Paton didn’t give any indication that Newton, 32, was even an option during his post-practice press conference on September 1, only focusing on his own quarterbacks — and rightfully so. The Broncos’ quarterback room isn’t the envy of most teams around the league, but adding someone like Newton would only further muddy the water.

Is Superman in the Building?

Once among the premiere players at his position, Newton hasn’t been the same in a few years, with his last above-average season being 2018 when he passed for 3,395 yards, tossed 24 touchdowns and added four more on the ground.

Perhaps on paper, Newton looks like a better option than both starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and his backup Drew Lock — but is he?

The veteran is definitely entering the back nine of his prestigious career, and had he been available four years ago, this would’ve been a slam-dunk decision. But this version of Newton is a shell of himself. During his 15 starts in 2020, Newton completed 65.8% for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Name alone makes Newton the best catch among quarterbacks on the open market, and if this was a virtual situation, it’d be a no-brainer, but this isn’t a video game.

Truth be told, adding Newton really wouldn’t be an upgrade. Taking a look at the two veterans at their respective stages of their careers, it’s actually a push — or maybe even a slight edge for Bridgewater, considering he’s four years younger. Since 2017, Newton has accrued 54 touchdowns, 40 interceptions, 9,926 yards and a 62.3 completion percentage, with a passer rating of 82.2. Bridgewater’s career numbers are 53 touchdowns, 36 picks, 11,385 yards, and a 66.5 completion percentage, for a passer rating of 89.5.

Very comparable numbers, but the edge goes to the younger quarterback.

Mile High Magic, Part 2?

Once upon a time, there was a former league MVP who was on the open market, in the twilight of his storied career and looking for a soft free-agent landing. He chose the team that calls the Rocky Mountains home, set a lot of records, won a bunch of games for the Broncos and rode off into the sunset raising the Lombardi Trophy. But Newton is no Peyton Manning, and there’s very little chance the former replicates the latter’s ending, which is why the Broncos shouldn’t even dial Newton’s agent, James “Bus” Cook.

The Broncos may not be in love with either Bridgewater or Lock as the quarterback of the future — or even the quarterback of today. But there’s certainly enough surrounding talent to elevate either signal caller in 2021. Taking a flier on Newton, who went 7-8 as a starter in 2020 for a mediocre Patriots squad that didn’t have nearly the same talent as the 2021 Broncos, doesn’t make much sense.

Fans and experts have differing opinions on the matter. “Cam Newton would be the best QB on Denver’s roster,” Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus tweeted.

Others disagree, including Heavy contributor and Mile High Huddle deputy editor Zack Kelberman. “No, the #Broncos should not go anywhere near Cam Newton,” he tweeted. “Hard to believe it has to be said.”

Broncos Country should definitely root for the latter opinion, especially since Newton seems well past his prime and has shown a recent penchant for not being 100% available for his team — including missing three late-August practices “due to what the team called a COVID-19 protocol ‘misunderstanding,'” ESPN reported — despite what his former coach says.

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