The NFL is two weeks deep into free agency, and two former No. 1 picks are still unsigned. Cam Newton and Jameis Winston remain on the market, despite resumes that indicate they both should be starting quarterbacks.
Newton is a former NFL MVP and is just 30 years old. Though shoulder and foot injuries have affected his career, Newton still is at the prime age for a quarterback. So why is he still a free agent, even though there are QB-needy teams? Apparently, it could be by design.
"For Cam Newton ... I wouldn't want to sign with a team right now," CBS Sports NFL analyst and former NFL quarterback Brady Quinn said on Tuesday's Pick Six Podcast (listen below and subscribe here for daily NFL goodness). "I want the draft to come and go and I want to have a clear vision of what teams realistically would want to bring me in and sign me to a contract that allows me to compete. Whether that's the Las Vegas Raiders, maybe New England, Miami, L.A. Chargers. I would rather wait until I see a clear picture of the situation.
"If I'm Cam Newton, a former league MVP, I would wait for more clarity. I don't look at him as a happy backup. I would not want to see him go somewhere where they are going to view him as a bridge quarterback."
Podcast host Will Brinson added that Newton can afford to wait out his situation. The Chicago Bears signed Mike Glennon to a huge deal before drafting Mitchell Trubisky in the first round that same year (2017), and as Brinson pointed out, that's the situation Newton wants to avoid.
Winston's set-up is a bit different. He doesn't have the resume Newton has (though, as Quinn pointed out, Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer also led the league in turnovers in their first year learning a Bruce Arians offense).
Quinn also said there's a good reason why no team has signed Winston yet.
"I think it just tends to be a year where you just have two incredibly talented prospects in Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa," he said. "That takes away two teams that are eyeing those two guys. If you look at guys like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers, you think of guys (like that) and what they have done in this league in comparison to Jameis.
"Even though there's upside there -- the Bucs are a case in point. They are looking at Jameis and looking at Brady and thinking, you know, I might try to win now over these next two years rather than move on with this experiment. I don't blame them for it. It's Tom Brady."
"For Jameis, his biggest flaw he never improved upon, the one thing they got on him about coming out of college: the interceptions."
Winston's interception troubles may mean he has to take a backup job and then compete for the starting role. His situation is much different than Newton's. It will be interesting to see which quarterback goes off the market first.