NFL Free Agency Fantasy Fallout: Cam Newton's release sends his stock into the late rounds
Released by the Panthers, Cam Newton will find another job, but there's not a ton of upside remaining.
Cam Newton has been a Fantasy football hero from the moment he entered the league in 2011. Five times has he finished in the top 10 at his position, he's currently third all-time in career rushing yards for a quarterback and no passer has run for as many touchdowns (58).
But he's not Superman anymore. The soon-to-be 31-year-old quarterback known as much for his rushing abilities as for his incredible wardrobe has undergone significant procedures on his throwing shoulder and foot in consecutive offseasons. He's had a completion percentage north of 62% once in his nine-year career. He's had three winning seasons as a starter.
And now, he's a free agent.
What lies ahead for Newton? For one thing, he'll have to be cleared medically from his offseason foot surgery. Newton has been posting workout videos and "I'm not done" types of commentary to his social media channels, suggesting he will be just fine. But it's pretty obvious that his foot surgery could collapse his floor in terms of rushing production. He barely ran in the two games he played in last year and seemed to begin limiting his rush attempts when he fell to 7.2 carries per game in 2018. Rushing has always been a huge part of his stats, and counting on Newton as solely a passer has always been risky.
If he's deemed healthy, teams will start seriously considering him. But there aren't many starting jobs available. The Chargers, Patriots, Jaguars, Dolphins and Redskins are really the only five teams that might entertain Newton as a Week 1 option.
The best landing spot for Fantasy purposes would be in L.A. There are just too many good players around him for him to struggle mightily as a passer with the Bolts. His rushing prowess already figures to be on a steep decline, but without a power back on the Chargers roster, maybe he'd fill in for five or six rushing touchdowns. He'd be worth a pick starting in Round 10 if he winds up wearing powder blue.
The Patriots need a veteran presence under center for sure, but if they were sensitive to paying a ton for Brady, they might view overpaying Newton as prohibitive. Stylistically, he's also very different from what the Patriots are used to on offense. But Bill Belichick has not been shy about praising Newton in the past, going as far to say in 2017 that Newton was "the hardest guy to (defend)" because he "makes good decisions, can run. He's strong. He's hard to tackle. He can do a lot of different things. He can beat you in a lot of different ways." Whether or not Belichick still believes these things about Newton is unclear, but if the Patriots' best quarterback options are Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham, Newton could get a look. He'd probbaly get taken after Round 10 if he landed with the Pats.
The Jaguars, Dolphins and Redskins are the same kind of destinations for Newton. They aren't considered 2020 contenders, they either have or will have young quarterbacks who may or may not be crowned as franchise stewards, they all have suspect offensive lines and they all have one great young wide receiver in the passing game with a lot of question marks otherwise. It's hard to envision Newton being a stellar Fantasy option with any of the trio of teams, even if he lands in Washington and reunites with former coach Ron Rivera.
It's not rare to see veteran quarterbacks change teams and thrive elsewhere for a season or two. Brett Favre, Joe Montana, Rich Gannon, Trent Green and Michael Vick did it. Newton should have the chance to make it happen. If he ends up in the right place, it will be enough to make him an interesting choice late in 2020 Fantasy drafts.
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