Should the Jets Target Cam Newton as Sam Darnold’s Backup?by Yehuda Schwartz May 11, 2020 0 comments
The New York Jets have been very active this offseason when it comes to addressing their needs via the NFL Draft and free agency. The one need that hasn’t been addressed is backing up Sam Darnold with a veteran quarterback to help him continue his development.
One big-name free agent quarterback still available is Cam Newton. The Panthers shocked the world earlier this offseason when they released the former MVP and Heisman Trophy winner. Under rookie head coach Matt Rhule, the Panthers chose Teddy Bridgewater as Newton’s replacement.
Originally, it was assumed that Newton would only accept a job as the starter. However, with all starting vacancies filled, it now appears that Newton could settle for a spot on the second tier of the depth chart.
As Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported, Newton wants to be a starter but would be open to signing as a backup.
From NFL Now: Free agent QB Cam Newton has not ruled out a backup QB job in the right situation, I'm told. He wants to be (and should be) a starter. But he's open to being a backup. pic.twitter.com/g89M6vAgyv
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 7, 2020
Signing a deal to be a backup would push Newton to get back to the level that he was valued at during his younger years. Newton, 31, had some injury trouble with his shoulder in the past couple of seasons and is looking to rebound and return to the form that saw him consistently passing for almost 4,000 yards while rushing for nearly 600 yards.
When looking at that talent on paper, it becomes a wonder why he does not have a job yet. Understandably, teams have their concerns about his health.
But should that stop the Jets from looking into him?
Newton would be a glove fit in the New York market with his unique personality and popularity.
Sam Darnold would also greatly benefit from the mentorship of a quarterback who was a franchise star for nearly a decade. The USC product hopes that he can be the same and thus receiving mentorship from someone who has done that would be greatly beneficial.
In addition, Darnold would subconsciously know that if he starts to play bad or falter, the former MVP is sitting on the bench, waiting to come in and take over. That could push Darnold to improve his play in ways that almost no other backup quarterback can.
Overall, the fit for Newton is intriguing and the Jets would be wise to consider this venture. As it stands at the moment, the depth chart beyond Darnold is fourth-round pick James Morgan and seventh-year signal-caller David Fales.
Whether Newton to the Jets happens or not, one thing is clear: the depth at quarterback is quite bleak, especially for a team banking on a 22-year-old.