Cam Newton was a great quarterback. Maybe he still can be a great quarterback. But that’s not a risk the Bears were in position to take.
The Carolina Panthers tried to find a trade partner for Newton over the last week. They couldn’t. Now, he’s expected to be released on Tuesday, throwing the 2015 NFL MVP into the uncertain waters of free agency.
A report surfaced last week that the Bears were in discussions with the Panthers for Newton. This week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Panthers offered Newton to the Bears.
But just because Newton was offered doesn’t mean the Bears were listening.
Why? Because not only are there serious questions about Newton’s health, but he’s been in decline ever since playing in the Super Bowl four years ago.
Here’s a blind taste test of numbers:
QB A: 931/1,562 (59.6 percent), 10,778 yards, 6.9 yards/attempt, 65 TD, 44 INT, 82.6 passer rating, 335 rushing attempts, 1,599 yards, 4.8 yards/attempt
QB B: 811/1,280 (63.4 percent), 8,554 yards, 6.7 yards/attempt, 48 TD, 28 INT, 85.8 passer rating, 157 rushing attempts, 862 yards, 5.5 yards/attempt
QB A is also about four and a half years older than QB B. If you haven’t guessed by now: A is Newton (2016-2019), B is Mitch Trubisky (2017-2019). Who would you rather have?
The Bears would’ve assumed incredible risk by trading for Newton and lining him up for a competition with Trubisky, too. The Bears’ medical staff wouldn’t have been able to conduct a physical on Newton for some time, possibly not before the NFL Draft in April.
So what if the Bears agreed to a trade for Newton last week only to find something in a medical check this summer that could negate the trade? Hello, 2020 Bears starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
There's probably a reason Ron Rivera, now in Washington after spending years with Newton in Carolina, traded for Kyle Allen. Not Newton.
Newton, hopefully, will get his chance to show he’s healthy and effective in 2020. But the Bears need better quarterback play in 2020, and they need as close to a guarantee of that as possible. Even in a scenario in which the Bears trade Trubisky, Newton isn't coming to Chicago.
There could’ve been a big payoff for the Bears if they traded for Newton. More likely, though, was the possibility for an even bigger disappointment.