NFL Analyst Calls Ex-Patriot & Former MVP ‘Washed Up’

Cam Newton

Getty Cam Newton will become a free agent this offseason.

What’s the next step for former New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton? Well, if you ask sportscaster Damon Amendolara, the former NFL MVP is “washed up.”

Amendolara, known by his fans as D.A., hosts “The D.A. Show” weekday mornings on CBS Sports Radio from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. ET and joined Heavy ahead of the 2022 Super Bowl to preview the big game and some top NFL offseason storylines.

When asked whether he thought Newton, who is 32 years old and will become a free agent in mid-March, would be a fit with the Denver Broncos or any other team in the NFL, Amendolara didn’t pull any punches.

“I think he’s washed up,” Amendolara told Heavy. “You know, when he left Carolina [during the 2019 season], the Panthers made a pretty declarative statement: ‘We don’t think he’s got football left.'”

In 2020, Newton got a chance with the Patriots, starting 15 games and passing for 2,657 yards, his career-low for a full season. The Patriots went 7-9 and missed the postseason.

“Cam then goes to New England and, pretty obviously, he was really limited,” Amendolara told Heavy. “The Patriots missed the playoffs, then this past season he is without a job. He loses the job to a rookie in Mac Jones in training camp of the [2021] preseason.”

Newton returned to the Panthers, signing a one-year deal for $10 million, on November 11, 2021. He played in eight games, starting five of them. The Panthers went 0-5 in those games.

“The only reason the Panthers bring him back is because their quarterback situation is so bad,” Amendolara continued, “and again, he kind of falls short.”

Newton passed for 684 yards and 4 touchdowns, but he also threw five interceptions.

“You know, it’s nothing against him, because clearly it’s not his fault,” Amendolara told Heavy. “It’s just that his athleticism has eroded, and he’s just not the QB that he once was – from a physical standpoint.

“So I just don’t see how you can give Cam Newton another look here, because we now have a pretty good sample size that he just doesn’t have the skills anymore.”

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Has Newton Gotten a Fair Chance the Past 2 Years?

Amendolara said Newton has been able to deliver a fair “sample size,” allowing a complete judgment of his fitness to continue to contribute as an NFL quarterback, but there is an argument to be made he hasn’t.

In 2020, Newton and the Patriots were off to a 2-1 start, with the quarterback’s versatility and leadership playing a major role.

He threw for 397 yards a touchdown and ran for another pair of scores in a 35-30 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on the road in Week 2. He was placed on the NFL’s COVID/reserve list ahead of a Week 4 clash with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots lost that game, and their next game, against the Broncos, was delayed. Newton eventually returned but he never looked quite the same as he did before being placed on the COVID/reserve list.

Heading into 2021, Newton was expected to be the Patriots’ starting quarterback, with rookie Mac Jones holding the backup role.

On August 23, 2021, Newton landed in COVID protocols after “misunderstanding” the NFL’s rules. On August 24, the NFL Network’s Mike Giardi tweeted that for the Patriots there was “a level of frustration” with Newton and that his absence opened “a window of opportunity” for Jones. On August 31, the Patriots released Newton.

After signing to the Panthers in November, Newton made an impact in his first two games, throwing a touchdown and running for another in a 34-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

The following week, Newton started against the Washington Football Team. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he ran for another. The Panthers lost the game 27-21. Things went downhill from there.

Against the Miami Dolphins, Newton completed only 5 of 21 throws and threw 2 interceptions in a 33-10 loss on the road.

On December 29, the Panthers benched Newton for Sam Darnold.

While there is some obvious slippage with Newton’s performance, there may be extenuating circumstances: COVID, a lack of offensive weapons and poor protection from the Panthers’ offensive line.

Has Newton consistently performed like the player who won the 2015 NFL MVP? No, but “washed up” might be overkill.

An Offbeat Potential Landing Spot for Newton in 2022

Newton isn’t in a position to walk into a starting spot, so he will need to accept a backup role or compete for a starting job.

If he’s open to a different kind of opportunity, the Baltimore Ravens might have a special role for him. Imagine Newton as a backup for Lamar Jackson and also a gadget guy capable of lining up as an H-Back or tight end capable of popping into the backfield to throw the football.

Newton would also give the Ravens another weapon in a power-running, play action situation in short-yardage situations.

The sort of trickery and different looks the Ravens could use with Jackson and Newton on the field seems endless.

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