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Cam Newton still insists he’s a starter, but he’s willing to be a backup in certain spots

Mike Florio and Chris Simms explore what to take away from Cam Newton throwing at Auburn’s Pro Day and pose potential teams where he could be a viable backup QB in the NFL.

Former NFL quarterback Cam Newton continues to believe “there ain’t 32 guys that’s better than me.” He nevertheless says he’s willing to be a backup, in certain circumstances.

Explaining on YouTube that there’s a false narrative about his insistence that there aren’t 32 players better than him (it’s unclear what’s false about, you know, his own words), Newton says he’d be willing to be a backup for a list of specific starters.

Newton says his phone hasn’t rung in the aftermath of his recent participation in Auburn’s Pro Day workout. He also takes issue with Shannon Sharpe calling Cam a “random” for 2023.

But Cam now insists he’s content to be a backup, for certain specific quarterbacks. And that, in any other setting, he’d want to compete to be the starter.

Here’s the list of quarterbacks for whom he’d willingly serve as an understudy: Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson; Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson; Bears quarterback Justin Fields; Titans quarterback Malik Willis; incoming rookies C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, and Anthony Richardson; Jets (eventually) quarterback Aaron Rodgers; Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts; Bills quarterback Josh Allen; and Commanders quarterback Sam Howell.

The inclusion of Malik Willis makes little sense, since he’s currently not the starter in Tennessee -- and given that he was benched for Josh Dobbs (a current backup to Deshaun Watson) late in 2022. And Howell hasn’t even earned the starting job in D.C. Surely, at some level, Cam would want to have a chance to beat him out.

Newton didn’t mention Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, or Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Newton said that the omissions were either players who are completely and fully entrenched and need no support or assistance from Newton, or players that Newton would want to compete with.

Newton was out of football in 2022. He’s good enough to be on a depth chart. The question is whether he’s truly willing to humble himself to be a backup, anywhere.

In our view, and as we said recently on PFT Live, his best fits would be Buffalo or Kansas City.

Cam seems to recognize the concerns raised by the perception that his ego won’t allow him to accept the No. 2 spot on a depth chart. But he likely didn’t say enough in his 17-minute video to make this perception anything other than his reality.