Cam Newton was a free agent this past offseason for nearly three months. That meant every NFL team had plenty of time to make a move to sign him. More than plenty of time for a player of his caliber, really.
That includes Washington and Ron Rivera, who coached Newton since he was a rookie in 2011 all the way up through December of 2019.
The organization obviously bypassed on Newton, as he eventually landed with the Patriots. When that happened, Rivera had the chance to justify why the Burgundy and Gold didn't more aggressively pursue his former quarterback.
“I’m going to be very honest, that’s why I didn’t jump out and try to get Cam signed right away," Rivera said on The Dan Patrick Show. "Cause I have to watch Dwayne and see where he is. I can’t stunt his growth. We’ve got to give him the opportunity to show us what he can or can’t do.”
Well, Rivera and the staff needed just four regular season games and one training camp to see enough from Haskins, as he's now the third-stringer on the depth chart behind now-starter Kyle Allen and now-backup Alex Smith.
And considering how quickly they were willing to move on from Haskins, it's fair to wonder if the organization erred by not just picking up Newton instead.
To be fair, Rivera was also asked about the ex-MVP while Newton was still a free agent. In that answer, the coach explained that Newton's health was a serious issue, and one that any franchise would have to feel confident about before making him their guy. Perhaps Washington didn't have that confidence.
In addition, Washington did give Haskins a somewhat decent amount of time to find his footing. Instead of having him split No. 1 reps with Allen at camp, they allowed Haskins to take them all. He then started four times this year. That's far from an enormous sample size, but clearly, they felt like it was enough to bench him.
That said, if they were willing to make a QB switch in early October, then maybe they should've been more willing to acquire Newton, even with his questionable health.
New England didn't pay much at all for Newton, and before his recent positive COVID-19 test, he was balling. He will likely continue balling once he returns, and could keep that up for seasons to come.
It's always easier looking back than looking ahead. Always. However, if Washington feels comfortable demoting Haskins to the bottom of the depth chart already, it's understandable to wonder why they weren't equally as comfortable putting Newton at the top of it.