A Cam Newton and Ron Rivera reunion with the Redskins? Now that the Panthers have decided to release Newtoh, that can’t be ruled out, considering the rumor fueled by a report last week by ESPN’s Josina Anderson that said Washington brass, which includes Newton’s old Panthers coach, have discussed the idea and are in “wait-and-see mode.”
Although the previous level of interest was mild, according to Anderson, it had potential to heat up.
Regarding Washington as a potential destination for Cam Newton, I’m told the team discussed it, talks did not rise to the level of definitive interest at this time, more of a “wait & see mode” right now observing Newton’s market. #Skins also like their young guys too, per source.
— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 18, 2020
The Panthers granted Newton permission to seek a trade last Tuesday, not long before they came to terms with their replacement starting quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, on a three-year deal worth $63 million. In the meantime, they also traded Newton’s former top backup, Kyle Allen, to the Redskins for a fifth-round pick, replacing him with XFL star P.J. Walker.
Carolina needed the $19.1 million in salary-cap relief it got with the release of Newton. The problem with the Panthers finding a trade partner — the Bears and the Chargers were reportedly most discussed — was the uncertainty about Newton’s health coming off a season-ending right shoulder injury. Rebuilding Washington likely didn’t want to give up a high pick for Newton, especially with no second-rounder. The situation changes now that Allen already in the fold and Newton is a street free agent.
The Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins in the first round last season, but that was when West Coast offense-minded Jay Gruden was head coach and Bruce Allen was president. For 2020, the team is implementing the offense Rivera ran with the Panthers the past two seasons, coordinated by Norv Turner’s son, Scott. The acquisiton of Kyle Allen follows that Newton should be an option, too.
There’s an unfamiliarity with Haskins, and the new staff may not be sold on the second-year QB. Heck, the old staff might not have been, either, as Gruden was reluctant to throw Haskins into the fire early ahead of Case Keenum. There’s been a sense that owner Daniel Snyder had much to do with drafting Haskins.
The bottom line is that the Redskins need.a real contingency in their change, although Haskins had a couple of strong games to end his rookie season. They also no longer have Keenum, who signed to be the Browns’ backup to Baker Mayfield. Alex Smith continues to face an uncertain NFL future coming off his major scary leg injury. Colt McCoy left as a free agent to the Giants and Allen is essentialy his replacement. Newton is the better cal to be a Keenum-like alternative to Haskins.
From Rivera’s comments at the NFL Combine, it was pretty clear that the Redskins were exploring all possibilities at quarterback. Philip Rivers reportedly was on their radar, but given the Colts ultimately paid him $25 million for one year, a 38-year-old QB probably was too pricey for the Redskins.
Newton is entering only his age 31 season. The Redskins can get a younger option than Rivers for a little cheaper, one who has direct recent experience in the offense.
Newton’s medicals comlpicated his trade talks and they also limit his free-agent interest. Teams such as the Patriots and Chargers can’t afford a high-risk, oft-injured veteran and are better off turning to the draft. With the Bears trading for NIck Foles to be their contingency for Mitchell Trubisky, their recent first-round QB, the Redskins make even more sense for Newton than they did last week.
The Redskins may have tabled the conversation for Newton before, but that tune can change quickly now that the compensation is only a reasonable contract.