While all signs point to the Las Vegas Raiders keeping quarterback Derek Carr for the long term, they still haven’t solidified the backup quarterback opening. Garrett Gilbert was signed earlier in free agency but he’s played a total of eight games in his career with just two starts. He’s not a realistic option to hit the field if something happens to Carr.
The Raiders would be wise to consider adding a backup quarterback who can run the offense if necessary. Cam Newton could make some sense if he’s willing to take a clear backup job. Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report named the Raiders as one of the best fits for the former MVP:
Newton can fill some gaps near the goal line for a squad coming off a playoff appearance and become the quarterback version of former fullback Zack Crockett, who scored 28 rushing touchdowns for the Silver and Black between 2000 and 2003.
Furthermore, Carr became accustomed to occasionally stepping off the field or lining up at wide receiver with Marcus Mariota taking snaps under center on zone reads last season. Also of note, Newton has a connection to head coach Josh McDaniels, who served as his offensive coordinator with the Patriots in 2020. His 12 rushing touchdowns with New Engalnd tied for fourth-most leaguewide.
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Should Raiders Sign Newton?
There are still teams out there that would offer Newton a better shot at starting than the Raiders. Moton also mentioned the Seattle Seahawks as a fit. They don’t have a clear starter right now and Newton could certainly compete there. If he signed with the Raiders, he’d have to go in knowing that he’d be a backup.
From Las Vegas’ side of things, it’d make sense. Newton played under new head coach Josh McDaniels when they were both with the New England Patriots. He had 12 rushing touchdowns under the coach in 2020. McDaniels could figure out certain packages to use Newton in that would take advantage of his rushing ability. Carr has great arm talent but isn’t known to make plays with his feet. Carr showed last season that he was willing to step out from under center and let Mariota take snaps. Newton is even more dynamic and would bring an exciting element to the Raiders’ offense.
A Year as a Backup Could Help Newton
There are plenty of quarterbacks in the history of the NFL who went from starters to backups later in their careers. However, it’s different for Newton. He was one of the biggest names in all of sports during his peak and won an MVP. Quarterbacks like that usually have no problem finding starting jobs at 32, which is Newton’s current age.
He’s had trouble staying healthy in recent years. Taking a year to get his body right while working under a coach he trusts in McDaniels could be a smart play. Obviously, he wants to start and make plays but there could be worst situations to find himself in. Mariota spent two years behind Carr and will likely be starting for the Atlanta Falcons next season. It’s feasible that a similar situation may happen with Newton.
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