Cam Newton and Washington continue to be linked despite the idea’s unpopularity

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Ethan Cadeaux
·3 min read
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Newton and WFT continue to be linked despite its unpopularity originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

From Deshaun Watson to Russell Wilson to Marcus Mariota to Sam Darnold, the Washington Football Team has been linked to almost every quarterback that could be available during the 2021 offseason.

The upcoming months are expected to have the craziest QB movement in NFL history, with Washington one of the several teams looking to significantly upgrade at the sport's most vital position. Yet, there's one lower-tier signal-caller that has repeatedly been linked to Washington despite the unpopularity from Burgundy and Gold fans about the idea.

Who? Ron Rivera's old friend, Cam Newton.

During an episode of First Take on ESPN on Tuesday, Max Kellerman predicted that there will be several reunions between quarterbacks and their old coaches in the NFL this offseason, including Newton in Washington.

"I think Cam Newton will be available and Ron Rivera will come calling," Kellerman said. "I don't think [Taylor] Heinicke is the starter."

Newton, who turns 32 in May, had the best years of his career under Rivera in Carolina. In nine seasons together, the two led the Panthers to four NFC South titles, highlighted by a 15-1 campaign and Super Bowl appearance in 2015. Newton was also named the NFL's Most Valuable Player that season.

However, Newton is six years removed from that MVP trophy. He's been through significant injuries since then, including multiple to his right throwing shoulder. At his best, he's still only a shell of his former self.

Following an up-and-down season with New England, it's hard to imagine many teams across the NFL that would feel comfortable entering 2021 with Newton as their unquestioned starter. However, Kellerman thinks Newton deserves more credit for his efforts last season with the Patriots than he's received, citing the impossible situation he walked into following Tom Brady's departure.

"He really is a guy coming off a catastrophic injury where he missed a full season. He went to a new team, a brand new situation, no offensive weapons," Kellerman said. 

"I thought Tom Brady was done based on the offensive weapons. People were right about that, he wasn't surrounded by anything. Well, Cam was surrounded by less. He had to learn the system and he got COVID. He couldn't even practice. Still, he won seven games."

Kellerman isn't the only one who's linked Newton to Washington, either. In a piece from Pro Football Focus attempting to predict the landing spot of the NFL's top free agents, PFF also had Newton reuniting with his former coach.

Rumors of Washington having interest in Newton date back to last offseason, when the quarterback remained unsigned for months. Rivera ultimately decided against it, saying he wanted to truly see what he had in 2019 first-rounder Dwayne Haskins.

Now, Haskins is gone and things could be different, especially with Washington having no clear plan at the position moving forward.

In January, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter called Washington the "most natural landing spot" for Newton. And, during Washington's intro press conference for GM Martin Mayhew and executive Marty Hurney earlier this month, Rivera didn't rule out the chance of signing Newton.

If Washington does truly want to significantly upgrade at quarterback, Newton is unlikely the answer.

However, if Rivera and his staff are unable to land any of the premiere options at the position, it sounds like there's a real chance Newton could be in play for Washington.