With the official news that Cam Newton will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 NFL season, many are wondering if this is his last time in a Carolina Panthers uniform. If so, Newton will be a hot commodity this offseason. One team, in particular, should have the Panthers’ GM on the phone discussing a possible trade.
The Cleveland Browns are in dire need of a game-changer.
This was to be the year where the Browns made a bold statement on the field. Last season, the Browns snagged what they believed to be two offensive juggernauts in QB Baker Mayfield and RB Nick Chubb in the 2018 NFL Draft. While Chubb has been exceptional, Mayfield has continued to struggle in his sophomore year.
Normally, there could be excuses made for a QB’s poor performance. Maybe the offensive line can’t hold a block, he has no running game to offset the passing, or his receivers are just terrible. Neither one of those is the case when it comes to the Browns and Mayfield. The line has pretty much held up. Chubb is one of the best young backs in the NFL and before the season started, the Browns were labeled as having possibly one of the top three WR duos in the league with Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. So why should they look at Newton?
Simply put, they need leadership, a winner, and a QB with something to prove.
Newton has done it all. He’s been a member of bad teams. He’s led his team to a Super Bowl. He’s won the league MVP, and he’s faced more than enough criticism over his career. What’s happening in Charlotte is no real fault of his own. He just happened to get injured at the wrong time with the wrong person behind him.
Before Cam Newton went down, there were already questions regarding his shoulder heading into the season. To make matters worse, the Panthers went 0-2 with Cam as the starter. It was then that the real whispers began. “Is there something wrong with him”? In his absence Kyle Allen, his second-year backup would go on to lead the team to a 5-1 record which caused diehard Panthers’ fans to question even if they need Newton anymore.
This is the business side of the NFL and one that Newton has avoided for most of his career. Well, not anymore. This is where the Browns, Newton, and Panthers can all help each other. To bring in Newton, the Browns must be willing to offer a great deal, one that trumps their deal with the New York Giants that brought in Beckham. Can the Cleveland Browns afford such a deal?
The Panthers will want at least 2-3 first-round picks and players to be involved. This is something the Browns can definitely afford for a player of Newton’s caliber. The Browns have a stable of picks at their disposal. In the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft, the Browns have a pick in each round including a second in the 4th, 6th, and 7th. And they have the same heading into 2021. If money is the real issue, the Browns will head into the 2020-21 season with over $60M in the bank.
Giving up three first is not a big deal because, if the deal is done correctly, they can get one back once they trade Mayfield. The difference here will be the money Newton is still owed. In 2020, Newton will be on the books for $18.6M. He will become a free agent in 2021 which may cause a huge concern for the Browns. However, if Newton and the Browns can find success together, the Browns would be wise to pay him top dollar.
For starters, Newton is only 30 years old. Despite his injury this season, he’s still considered one of the best in the NFL. In his nine seasons, Newton has passed for 29,041 yards while throwing 182 touchdowns. On the downside, Newton has thrown 108 interceptions and is not known as the most accurate passer for his star status. He’s completed 59.6 percent of his passes or his career, however, Newton has not had too many reliable receives with him in Charlotte.
Now, if the Browns were to pair Newton with Landry and Beckham, that will give the Browns one of the top offenses in the NFL. Another thing for the Browns to consider is the ability that Newton has when the pocket breaks down. This is the area where Mayfield often finds himself in trouble.
While many will attribute the Browns playcalling as an area of concern, there is no way Mayfield should be completing only 58.7 percent of his passes this year. In all fairness, Mayfield has regressed with better offensive weapons surrounding him. The Browns’ offense is ranked 17th in passing yards and 31st in touchdowns. Newton can bring those numbers up easily.
While Chubb has handled the majority of the groundwork, Newton is at his best when avoiding the rush. For his career, Newton has rushed for 4806 yards with 58 touchdowns. Pair Newton with the three skill players the Browns already have and fireworks will happen.
Baker Mayfield has had his time. He and the Browns are not a great fit. Mayfield has had his share of good outings but this season is a clear indication that he’s not the right fit for them. This could be a down year or a sophomore slump. But if the Browns have a chance to grab a veteran arm like Newton, then why not pull the trigger?
The AFC North is still wide open. While Lamar Jackson is leading the Baltimore Ravens, the rest of the teams (Bengals and Steelers) are in rebuild mode. With Newton at the helm, the Browns and Ravens could do battle for title rights for the next five years. Winning is what matters to Cleveland and for the past two years, they have fallen short when expectations have been so high.
The reason the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and others have continued to find themselves atop the league is that their GM’s were not afraid to make the bold moves to get their teams where they needed to be. Adding Cam Newton and getting rid of Mayfield just may be the move to put the Cleveland Browns in Super Bowl discussions in 2020.