There are exactly zero expectations surrounding the Houston Texans in 2021. Such a notion is certainly nothing new. No Deshaun Watson, now no Tyrod Taylor. Should Cam Newton be next?
For a variety of different reasons, the Texans have pretty much punted on the 2021-22 campaign as the team is without starting quarterback Deshaun Watson, has a first-year NFL head coach in David Culley, and still play in both the AFC and AFC South, which doesn’t really provide a path to any sort of success in Houston.
Although the Texans were able to secure a Week 1 win over the rival Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that might very well have more issues than Houston at the present moment, the lowly AFC South franchise returned to form in Week 2 en route to coming up well short against the Cleveland Browns. Not only that, but the Texans managed to lose veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor to injury in the process, paving the way for Davis Mills under center.
Of course, Taylor was initially called upon to serve as the team’s starter in the absence of the aforementioned Watson, who continues to be sidelined due to a non-injury-related matter that has yet to be resolved and ongoing legal trouble. With Watson out indefinitely and Tyrod Taylor now hobbled by a nagging hamstring injury, a setback that could sideline him for more than a month, it is time to turn their attention elsewhere for the Texans as Mills is not the answer at quarterback.
Regardless of how terrible the Texans intend to be this time around, Houston simply cannot stick with Mills. Instead, they need to put in a call to former Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, who remains an unrestricted free agent.
The 32-year-old Newton is no doubt past his prime. However, he is by far the best available option out there on the open market at the present moment. With former Alabama Crimson Tide standout and Patriots rookie Mac Jones beating out Newton for the starting job in New England during the preseason, the heralded AFC East franchise — in a very surprising move — elected to cut ties with the former league MVP and longtime Panthers signal-caller. This preseason aside, Newton only lasted one season in New England and led the Patriots to a very disappointing 7-9 record. Although COVID-19, a change of scenery, and ultimately a first-round NFL Draft pick spoiled Newton’s brief stint as a member of the Patriots, there is still a very solid chance that his time in New England was nothing more than an outlier.
In his last season as a member of the Panthers back in 2019-20, Newton appeared in just two regular season games, which more or less ended his time in Carolina prematurely. In 2018-19, his last full season outside of New England, the seasoned signal-caller appeared in 14 regular season games en route to producing just shy of 3,400 passing yards alongside 24 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. It is also worth noting that he completed a single-season career-high 67.9 percent of his passing attempts that same season.
Newton would also be walking into a relatively decent situation in Houston as well, thanks to the team’s weapons on offense. Granted these weapons aren’t the best that money can buy, but a quartet of talented running backs and a dynamic wideout are a good place to start. With Newton still able to use his legs, Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay, David Johnson, and Rex Burkhead could serve as viable options both in the running game and passing attack behind the dual-threat ability of the free-agent quarterback.
Additionally, Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks has done well during his time in Houston despite the quarterback carousel he has encountered in 2021-22. Even with Taylor and Mills splitting time in Watson’s absence, Cooks has remained a staple of the Texans’ offense, producing some impressive numbers through the first two weeks of the 2021-22 regular season.
With at least some formidable players in place for Newton to work with, Houston could easily assimilate him into the Texans’ offense on short notice. With the Texans slated to battle it out with Newton’s former team in the Panthers this Thursday evening, it wouldn’t be until Week 4 when the former Patriots signal-caller could truly make an impact in Houston.
Cam Newton should also be considered by the Texans as Houston continues to be reportedly mulling over the idea of trading Deshaun Watson with the Miami Dolphins remaining in the mix — as far as the rumor mill goes, anyway. Things are not going well in Houston but this mutually beneficial situation could help everyone involved as the Texans fill a major void and Newton receives the chance to rebound this year and beyond.