The New England Patriots did what the Patriots do: acquired a cast-off from a middling organization that can’t get out of their own way.
Usually, it’s players like Wes Welker, Chris Hogan, or Kyle Van Noy. Recently they’ve acquired players to take home hardware like reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore. However, it doesn’t come very often that a former league MVP falls into your lap at minimal guaranteed money––like Cam Newton.
The 31-year-old quarterback has suffered a major fall from grace, as he’s had more surgeries than Pro Bowl appearances since his MVP season in 2015. As a result, he was sort of hung out to dry when the Panthers parted ways with him in late-March. As the market dwindled, and starting opportunities ran scarce, the Patriots swooped in and landed a former MVP for pennies on the dollar.
But many teams needed a quarterback this offseason, they just didn’t think it should be Cam Newton. Who is going to regret that decision the most?
Los Angeles Chargers
Yes, the Chargers had a top 10 pick which they used on Oregon quarterback, Justin Herbert. However, they appear to have every intention of waltzing into 2020 with Tyrod Taylor under center. Though a very cerebral guy, one could argue that Taylor almost serves as a quarterback’s coach––just as a member of the 53-man roster.
He’s far from a bad quarterback, posting a QBR of at least 60.0 in each of his last three full seasons, he just doesn’t fit the mold of the Chargers offense––loaded with elite pass-catchers such as Mike Williams and Keenan Allen.
Taylor fits the bill more as a runner, sort of a lesser version of what Lamar Jackson is capable of in Baltimore. Newton provides a better arm down the field, and instantaneously improves the running game––as exhibited in his career with the Panthers, where they were constantly a top 10 rushing attack.
The Chargers very well could have confidence in Justin Herbert moving forward, but their roster wouldn’t indicate they’re rebuilding. Their roster says “we’re ready to compete for a title,” they just don’t have the signal-caller for that.
Why they traded for Nick Foles is beyond me. No disrespect to the player, but each time he’s given the keys to play extended time, he finds a way to put himself on injured reserve.
Not to mention his playstyle is a complete juxtaposition to the guy he’s supposedly backing up: Mitchell Trubisky.
Understandably, Chicago wouldn’t be ready to admit they made a mistake trading up to draft the former Tar Heel, it just doesn’t make sense that their insurance policy operates under a completely different scheme. Foles is a better thrower of the football, he just does nothing for the running game.
As mentioned before, running games flourished in Carolina with Cam Newton, and he’d have been the perfect guy to bring in to compete for a starting job.
This one will be a head-scratcher to some, but the Buffalo Bills are arguably the team that will regret this the most.
They’re going to enter the season with the expectations that they’re going to usurp the Patriots atop the AFC East, and why wouldn’t they? Their defense is top-notch, they have weapons on the outside in Stefon Diggs and John Brown––as well as Cole Beasley in the slot.
The one problem? Their quarterback is one of the least accurate arms in football.
This isn’t to say that Cam Newton is Tom Brady-like when it comes to hitting his receivers, but he definitely can’t go a season without completing at least one pass that traveled 30 yards in the air.
Everyone talks about how strong of an arm Josh Allen has, but that doesn’t mean anything if you can’t hit receivers. His 47.3 QBR in 2019 ranked 24th out of 30 qualified quarterbacks, behind Philip Rivers (only three more touchdowns than interceptions), Baker Mayfield (22:21 touchdowns-to-interceptions), and Jameis Winston (first 30/30 season in league history).
It’s fair that Buffalo will look at Josh Allen and say: “We took him seventh overall, and he improved in 2019. We can’t just toss him aside and sign another franchise-caliber quarterback.” While true, making a young quarterback uncomfortable does wonders for showing you his mental makeup.
Considering Josh Allen was a mental puddle in his playoff game against the Texans last year, Buffalo should’ve brought in someone who could challenge him for the job. They didn’t and now they have to watch as New England (once again) possesses the best quarterback in the division––at full health.