After the Chargers failed to land Tom Brady, they debated acquiring Cam Newton. The debate apparently has been resolved.
Colin Cowherd, who has a relationship with the team that dates back to his visit to their war room on the first night of the 2018 draft, tried to make the case on Monday that Newton and Tyrod Taylor are the same player. It’s the kind of narrative that quite possibly comes with the express or implied urging or endorsement of the Chargers, who are either trying to get the word out that they don’t want Newton — or they’re trying to drive his price down with Cowherd making the case for keeping Taylor.
Are Newton and Taylor the same player? Newton is a former league MVP who took the team to the brink of a Super Bowl win. Taylor is a journeyman who has journeyed from Baltimore to Buffalo to Cleveland to L.A.
Nevertheless, Cowherd said this on the air (presumably with a straight face): “Cam and Tyrod are the same guy. . . . The gap between the two is tiny, and if coachability and health matters, I can say Tyrod Taylor gets the edge.”
Cowherd also rattled off some basic numbers from their last 46 starts. Newton is 23-23 with 65 touchdown passes and 44 interceptions. Taylor is 24-21-1 with 54 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions.
For Newton, the 46-start window begins after the 2015 season, during which Newton had 35 touchdown passes, 10 interceptions, 3,837 passing yards, 636 rushing yards, 45 total touchdowns, and 14 total turnovers.
For Taylor, the 46-start window consists of his entire nine-year career. (Like Newton, Taylor entered the league in 2011.) Taylor spent four seasons on the bench in Baltimore before becoming the Buffalo starter. He spent last season on the bench in L.A. And he landed on the bench in 2018 after an early-season injury in Cleveland, yielding the job to then-rookie Baker Mayfield.
If Newton is healthy (and that remains a significant “if”), he’s clearly the better option. And if the Chargers have decided to choose Taylor over a clearly better option when healthy (possibly for fear that there’s no way to know that Newton is or will be healthy), so be it. But the Chargers shouldn’t be pushing to a friendly voice media that they’re the same guy when they’re not.
But, hey, Cowherd had little choice but to play ball. The Chargers by all appearances handed him the news that Tom Brady had picked Tampa Bay over L.A., and that bill came due on Monday, when he was expected to argue (presumably with a straight face) that Cam Newton and Tyrod Taylor are the same guy.