RENTON — If you can’t beat them … join them?
Could that be Cam Newton and the Seahawks?
The 2015 NFL most valuable player has been a free agent for more than a month. Carolina released its former franchise player and Super Bowl quarterback after nine years in late March; a regime change didn’t want the 30-year-old as the Panthers’ guy anymore. Carolina signed Teddy Bridgewater to be their starter for 2020 and beyond instead.
The Seahawks have only undrafted rookie free agent Anthony Gordon behind franchise quarterback Russell Wilson. They signed Gordon last week.
They almost certainly aren’t going to go with just Gordon behind Wilson at quarterback this coming season.
Newton and the Panthers unsuccessfully sought trade partners for him before his only NFL team released him. He had been scheduled to earn $18.6 million this year. Plus, he is coming off a season-ending foot injury after he played only two games in 2019. That’s why no one traded for him.
Now that he is a free agent, Newton can strike a deal with any team for a new cost for 2020. Problem for him is, there aren’t really any starting jobs left in the league.
Miami drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall choice in the draft. The Los Angeles Chargers drafted Justin Herbert from Oregon with the next pick after Tagovailoa. So he’s that team’s franchise guy now that Philip Rivers is gone to post-Andrew Luck Indianapolis.
New England has a gaping hole to fill after letting Tom Brady go to Tampa Bay. And the Patriots did not draft a quarterback; they only signed two rookie free agent passers. Right now, Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are the veteran QBs on their roster. Yet last week, NFL Network’s Michael Giardi reported “there is nothing cooking” between Newton and New England.
Jacksonville is going to ride, at least for 2020, with Gardiner Minshew, the one-year wonder at Washington State two seasons ago.
Wilson, 30, has not missed an in-season practice let alone a game in his eight seasons as Seattle’s starter. Coach Pete Carroll and General Manager John Schneider saw in the 2016 season what can happen with an unprepared, rookie free agent in Trevone Boykin as their only backup. The Boykin experience spooked Carroll, Schneider — heck, the entire Pacific Northwest.
Since then, Carroll and Schneider have decided to keep an experienced QB as their backup, Wilson-insurance plan.
In 2017 they signed former Rams and Browns starter Austin Davis as the number-two quarterback. In 2018 the Seahawks traded for Brett Hundley, Aaron Rodgers’ former fill-in starter in Green Bay. Last season, former Jets and Giants starter Geno Smith was Wilson’s backup.