Speculation of a Ron Rivera–Cam Newton reunion has run rampant over the past 24 hours since Ryan Fitzpatrick went down with a hip injury in Washington’s Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. The chatter has only gotten louder since the team announced that Fitzpatrick would be placed on injured reserve — stripping Washington of his services for at least the next three games.
Yet, while the door may be open for Newton to find a home in D.C. at some point, Washington has opted to go in a different direction for the time being.
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QB-Needy Washington Signs Son of Ex-Giants Head Coach
Speaking of Washington’s vaunted NFC East rivals, the Football Team has decided to add to their quarterback room, not through the signing of a former league MVP, but rather with the addition of Kyle Shurmur — son of former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has reported that Shurmur will initially be added to Washington’s practice squad.
An undrafted free agent out of Vanderbilt in 2019, the 24-year-old Shurmur has bounced around multiple practice squads over his first three professional seasons, even earning a Super Bowl ring with the Kansas City Chiefs as a rookie. His most recent game action came with the Cincinnati Bengals during this year’s preseason where he amassed 337 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Does Newton to Washington Make Sense?
On the surface? Yes. While Fitzpatrick is theoretically eligible to return to action as early as Week 5, chances are his hip subluxation will keep him sidelined a bit longer. Heinicke flashed in the playoffs a season ago and played admirably in spot duty this past Sunday. However, he’s attempted just 92 regular-season passes over his career.
Newton remains a free agent following his surprise release from New England prior to Week 1. The former No. 1 overall pick has a long-storied relationship with coach Rivera. They led the Panthers to a Super Bowl run together in Newton’s 2015 MVP campaign. However, as Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio pointed out, while the quarterback may have a history with Rivera and current fellow coaches on Washington’s staff, the real question is how did that relationship end during Newton’s not-so-smooth exit from Carolina?
Here’s a key factor to keep in mind. How did things end between Newton and the various former Carolina coaches who are now in Washington. Often, we assume that the parties will be inclined to rekindle a past relationship. Sometimes, the past relationship makes a future one less than ideal.
For now, Washington will proceed with Heinicke under center and Kyle Allen — who at one point was viewed as Newton’s heir apparent in Carolina — as his backup. However, Rivera hasn’t ruled anything out.
“We have a short week,” Rivera said. “We’ll go through the week, and we’ll go from there.”
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