BOSTON (CBS) — It doesn’t seem like anyone wants to sign free agent quarterback Cam Newton this offseason, but the fact that New England hasn’t added the 2015 MVP is a little disappointing to one former Patriot.
NBC Sports football analyst Rodney Harrison, who delivered some big hits on the New England defense in his six seasons with the Patriots, believes Newton in New England would be a great situation for both parties.
“I know a lot of people out there are saying the Patriots, but I thought it would be a great situation where he could have came in at a reduced salary,” Harrison said on an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show. “He could have came in and really learned a lot about just technique and just the intricacies of just being on a really great football team with great guidance as far as the head coach and offensive coordinator.”
With Tom Brady now in Tampa Bay, the Patriots seem set with heading into the 2020 season with second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer. The team also signed a pair of undrafted free agents after not addressing the position in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Patriots haven’t expressed much interest in Newton, which is disappointing to Harrison.
“I thought that would have been a really, really ideal situation for him. He could have came in, competed,” Harrison continued. “Could have helped the young guy, the young guy could have helped to push him. I thought it would have been a perfect situation. I’m just a little disappointed that the Patriots weren’t a little bit more aggressive, you know, just recruiting Cam.”
New England has a bit of a salary cap crunch on its hands, with very little wiggle room this offseason. They had to sign veteran safety Patrick Chung to an extension last week to create cap space to sign top draft pick Kyle Dugger, so the Patriots would have to get pretty creative to add Newton at this point. Still, the New England remains the favorites to sign Newton on numerous betting sites.
As for why no one has signed Newton, who was cut by the Panthers in March following a nine-year career in Carolina, Harrison said health remains the biggest concern with the 31-year-old quarterback.
“Nobody knows what’s going on with Cam as far as, can you depend on him with his health,” said Harrison. “And at this point in time you can’t invest a lot of money because he’s been so beat up.”
Newton played just two games in 2019, landing on IR in November with a Lisfranc injury in his left foot that he suffered in a preseason game against New England. He underwent surgery in December.
“I think the best thing for him to do is go into a situation, maybe go become a backup quarterback, learn, get healthy, and then if he gets his opportunity, go out there and shine,” said Harrison. “But I don’t think he’s going to be a starting quarterback this year in the National Football League.”
Newton had missed just six starts in his seven seasons prior to the 2018 season. He was the MVP in 2015 when he threw for 3,837 yards, 35 touchdowns and led Carolina to a 15-1 regular season record and a trip to Super Bowl 50, where the Panthers lost to the Denver Broncos.