Cam Newton was once the top overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He won the Heisman Trophy before that. He was the NFL offensive rookie of the year. He was selected to three Pro Bowls, one All-Pro, and he was the MVP of the NFL in the 2015 season as well as the AP offensive player of the year. Cam Newton is one of the NFL’s biggest and most decorated stars of the last decade, and yet he’s publicly announcing lists of where he would be willing to sign on as a backup for the 2023 NFL season.
It’s a wild time to be alive, isn’t it?
Newton posted this video to his YouTube page outlining which players he would be willing to be a backup for in the 2023 season after making the claim that there are not 32 guys right now who are better than him (as starters). Eight years is basically two lifetimes in the NFL, but it really doesn’t feel like it was that long ago that Newton was on top of this league.
For those out there wondering if Cam Newton would be willing to play for their favorite NFL team, let’s take a quick gander at the options he has presented. Of course, as of right now, it doesn’t seem like any team is offering its starting job to Newton. The last team to do that was Bill Belichick’s Patriots in 2020. He did play for the Panthers for a handful of games in the 2021 season as well.
Let’s dissect Newton’s list of players he’d be willing to play behind as the backup…
Cam Newton’s options as a backup QB in 2023
Deshaun Watson – Cleveland Browns
The Browns don’t exactly have a solidified backup option right now. They brought back Josh Dobbs this offseason and after what he showed late last year with the Titans, maybe Dobbs will be enough for Kevin Stefanski.
Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens (for now)
Lamar Jackson was franchise tagged by the Ravens but who knows where he’s going to actually play in 2023? Backing up Lamar Jackson could mean any number of things (teams) right now.
Justin Fields – Chicago Bears
This would actually be a fun and logical option. Why not, Chicago? The Bears did sign PJ Walker in free agency to be a backup for Fields.
Tua Tagovailoa – Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins signed Mike White to a pretty nice contract to be Tua Tagovailoa’s backup going forward. I’m not sure they’d make the investment in Cam Newton at this point or even that he would be the no. 2 there.
Malik Willis – Tennessee Titans
Does Newton know something we don’t about Ryan Tannehill? Why did he specify Malik Willis? Is Tannehill not long for the Titans? Is Newton saying he’d like to be the Titans’ no. 3 guy?
CJ Stroud – TBD
We don’t know where top 2023 NFL Draft prospect CJ Stroud is going to land. He could go to Newton’s Panthers with the no. 1 overall pick, he could go to Houston, someone could trade up for him, he could go to Indianapolis…The options here are too many to really know at this point.
Bryce Young – TBD
See: CJ Stroud
Anthony Richardson – TBD
See: CJ Stroud
Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles
Maybe Newton is confident that he could beat out Eagles new backup QB Marcus Mariota for the backup QB job this season. I’m not so sure, Mariota looked good for the Falcons last season.
Aaron Rodgers – New York Jets…?
This will presumably mean Newton could go to the Jets to backup Aaron Rodgers. That would certainly be a QB room worthy of Hard Knocks level coverage.
Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills
I would love to see this. The Bills’ current backup situation is Kyle Allen and Matt Barkley (terrible) so Newton might actually be an upgrade here.
Sam Howell – Washington Commanders
Sam Howell is the presumptive QB1 for the Commanders, although Jacoby Brissett will have something to say about that. Newton is familiar with Commanders HC Ron Rivera, so that’s the connection here.
Ultimately, it doesn’t seem likely that Newton is going to get picked up by any NFL team. He was out the entire 2022 season and worked out for teams at the Auburn Pro Day. Did he do enough to warrant a contract? Has his time in the NFL come and gone? I would not hate seeing Newton land with the Bears or Bills among this list as teams he could actually help.