As we draw ever nearer the start of training camp, hopefully, former Panthers starter Cam Newton remains unsigned and seemingly unloved. The former NFL MVP, who led Carolina to the team first-ever Super Bowl, is still without a suitor as his previous team moves on to Teddy Bridgwater.
With questions about the now 29-year-old Derek Carr still swirling should, the Raiders have given Cam Newton a solid look before jumping straight in with Marcus Mariota. Mariota is no guaranteed success and gives the Raiders a similar kind of headache to Cam, but without the upside.
Cam Newton would bring a circus, eyes, attention, all the things you kind of expect, and want in Las Vegas. So for the Raiders, you would assume that’s not a deal-breaker. It wouldn’t be surprising if the team were a little gun-shy after the “Antonio Brown” incidents from last year that were so unfortunately played out on Hard Knocks. But that’s life in the NFL, you have to get right back on that horse.
Cam Newton is the ring master
With a two-year $17.6 million given to Mariota on the first day of the tampering window, the Raiders were clearly keen on the former Tennessee passer, and that’s ok. But let’s be clear, it’s not a ringing endorsement of Derek Carr, not does it take the spotlight off the quarterback position.
Sure Cam Newton would’ve added another three million camera lenses to the situation and would’ve almost demanded the starting role, but to not look him over is strange. Now obviously Cam wasn’t technically a free agent at the time as the Panthers looked to trade him before they cut him nine days into free agency.
So maybe the Raiders didn’t want to leave the backup role hanging in the ether on an unknown possibility of getting a better quarterback. Because like him or loathe him, Cam Newton is better than Derek Carr, and definitely better than Marcus Mariota. Better fit? That could be argued, but the money paid to Mariota when Newton was an option is questionable.
And it’s fair to say Newton would’ve pushed Derek Carr for that starter’s role much more aggressively, on and off the field, than Mariota will. But is that a bad thing? Haven’t the Raiders kind of done that anyway by signing a backup QB for this kind of money?
Newton vs Mariota is not a fair fight
In his 9-year career, Cam Newton is 68-55-1, with 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns, and 108 interceptions. in 5-years, Marcus Mariota is 29-32, 13,207 yards, 76 touchdowns, and 44 interceptions. Cam is the more productive, more explosive, and likely the longer this thing drags out he’ll be the cheaper option as well.
Cam does have injury concerns hanging over him clearly. Ankle issues, shoulders issues. Have these been cleared and is he as close to 100% as he can get at 31? At this point, no one knows. Newton has missed 19 games in 9 seasons, 16 of those in the last two years. That is a huge concern.
But for those of you keeping count, Mariota has never played a full season and lost his job to Ryan Tannehill in 2019. I’m not saying Mariota is a bad QB, and as a backup, he’s a quality option. But for the money paid, and the options out there? Cam Newton’s circus was worth a visit before buying into Mariota.