Ever since the season came to an end for the New England Patriots, there’s been tons of speculation suggesting Cam Newton would land back with his old head coach Ron Rivera playing for the Washington Football Team. After Tuesday morning’s announcement, I’d expect to hear that conversation get a bit louder.
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More Panther Connections in Washington
Nothing is certain when it comes to Newton’s future with the Patriots. The most recent report suggests the Patriots are a long way from making a decision on Newton, or anyone else related to their QB situation.
However, it seems fairly reasonable to conclude that if the Patriots are interested in bringing Newton back in some capacity in 2021, their competition to sign him might come from Washington.
There is suddenly even more familiarity with the Washington franchise, and it seems possible they would have some interest in signing Newton.
Not only does Washington have Newton’s former head coach in Ron Rivera, but they have now also hired the Carolina Panthers’ former general manager Marty Hurney, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport:
Let’s also not forget Washington’s offensive coordinator is Scott Turner, the son of former Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Back in 2018, Newton was off to his best start as a pro under Turner before injuries started to impact his performance. Still, in 14 games (before Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen took over, each starting one game) Newton threw for 3,395 yards, 24 TDs, and 13 INTs.
An older wiser Newton might be able to enjoy even more success after a learning experience in New England.
Washington’s QB Situation
At the moment, it would appear Alex Smith might be Washington’s best option as a starting quarterback in 2021, though Heinicke did look good in a gutsy playoff performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Still, Heinicke lacks experience and Washington seems unlikely to hitch their wagons to a 27-year-old who has thrown 77 passes over three seasons in the NFL. Smith is a shaky option because of age and injury concerns.
Smith will be 37 in May and after coming back from a catastrophic leg injury, he wound up taking over for the disappointing Dwayne Haskins. Smith was an inspiration because of what he had to overcome just to get back on the field. However, he suffered injuries that kept him out of the playoff game that Heinicke had to start, and statistically, he had just a so-so year with 1,582 yards, 6 TDs, and 8 INTs in 8 games.
Because Washington made the postseason, they won’t be in a position to draft one of the elite QB prospects. They are currently set to draft 19th which could mean they will have to settle for someone like Florida’s Kyle Trask if they elect to draft a QB in the first round.
In any case, it wouldn’t appear as though Washington will have an option to draft a player who is ready to start Week 1 of the 2021 season.
Because of that, Newton could be their best option as a bridge to the next player they’re planning to develop as a franchise player. With better weapons around him with Washington than he had in New England, and back with a system of which he’s familiar, there is reason to believe Newton should improve over the numbers he produced in 2020.
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