At a time when quarterback Tom Brady is playing as well as ever at age 45, a guy who entered the NFL more than a decade later remains available.
Cam Newton, the first pick in the 2011 draft and the 2015 NFL MVP, has gotten zero sniffs during training camp and the preseason.
It shouldn’t really surprise anyone. Although he thinks he’s good enough to start for one of the NFL’s 32 teams, none of the league’s franchises agree. The problem may be, quite simply, that he was sufficiently banged up during his first decade in the NFL to no longer attract the attention of any of the league’s teams.
Then there’s the fact that, yes, Newton as a huge personality. It would be difficult, and delicate, for Newton to be on a depth chart as anything but the starter. Plenty of guys now in the NFL grew up rooting for Newton. They’d want to play with him. Thus, he’d need to play for a team with an established starter.
That’s not what Newton wants to do. He wants to play. The teams know this. Which has made them less likely to consider making him the No. 2 quarterback.
There’s no reason to think he wants that. He wants to play. He wants to start. But that’s not happening.
Is he good enough to still play? The NFL’s 32 teams have rendered their verdict. Newton has done nothing to alienate any of the league’s teams. He simply has a persona that is too big to let him be a backup, if he’d even want that role. His belief that he’s good enough to start suggests that he doesn’t.
And so, by all appearances, that’s that for Newton. Unless Panthers starter Baker Mayfield gets injured and the powers-that-be decide to bring Newton back again to Charlotte, if not to win games but to sell tickets and generate excitement — as he did in 2021.