Cam Newton's prolonged free agency was one of the more curious storylines in the NFL this offseason. Yes, there were questions about healthy his shoulder was and there were limited starting opportunities around the league, but this Cam Newton we're talking about.
If anyone knows what Newton still brings to the table, it's former Panthers coach and Redskins head coach Ron Rivera. He drafted Newton, helped him win Offensive Rookie of the Year, MVP and reach a Super Bowl in 2015.
Rivera's new team opted not to sign Newton despite a relatively unproven quarterback room and are giving Dwayne Haskins a shot to prove he's a franchise quarterback in the NFL. Newton then signed a one-year deal with the Patriots Sunday.
In an interview with 670 The Score Monday, Rivera explained Washington's decision, or non-decision for that matter on the former MVP, explaining under the right circumstances, he would've felt fine going after Newton.
"If the circumstances had allowed us, I would not have had an issue with that," Rivera said. "I would've been very confident and comfortable going after him and bringing him to be part of what we're doing here."
Rivera said the team's choice depended on what they thought of Haskins' future.
Rivera and his staff like Haskins a lot, but the 23-year-old has just seven starts under his belt and Washington wants to give him the opportunity to play and grow in their system. With Newton, that would've been more difficult to accomplish.
"That's the benefit of being a new head coach is that we can be patient," Rivera said. "We can put these guys through workouts and get to know what we have and feel good about it or don't feel good about it. Then we have to go out and make some changes, but until we get that opportunity to know what we have, it would've been very hard to bring a guy in who's had such a solid career, who was a league MVP at one time and expect the young guy to get his chances to grow."
Now, we're left to watch and see how Haskins does in his first full year as a starter and whether Newton can revive his career under Bill Belichick in New England.
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