Canned Newton gives pause

Former NFL MVP Cam Newton is unemployed at age 30. This rumor became a reality after the Carolina Panthers released him yesterday. The Panthers still owe Newton $21 million, which is the reason why there was no trade market for him.

Newton has stressed repeatedly that he desired to remain a Panther. Even as recently as late January, Newton publicly said he believed he would be in Carolina in 2020. But his employer thought differently, clearing feeling it was time to move on.

Is Newton washed up at 30? Perhaps, But why has Newton gone from superstar to unemployed so young? Tom Brady, 42, just signed with the Bucs. Drew Brees is still going strong in New Orleans at 41. Each is more than a decade older than Newton.

The answer is style. Brady, Brees and Aaron Rodgers are old-school, pocket passers. They aren’t a threat to take take off and run. There’s no denying that the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson revolutionized the game after rushing for 1,206 yards in 2019.

But this begs a question that NFL owners must answer. What is the future of the running quarterback? What will the 23-year-old Jackson look like seven years from now? The grim reality is he may be just like Newton – an asset of diminished value.

Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers are not as exciting to watch as Jackson and the other duel-threat quarterbacks in the NFL. But they are all still playing effectively in the NFL in their late 30’s and even their early 40’s.

The above-mentioned group makes up for their lack of running ability with their great vision, solid footwork and outstanding arms. The common denominator of these pocket passers is they can throw a football downfield very accurately.

I can’t deny the impact of the running quarterback in the NFL. The fans love them, but the wear and tear on their bodies is evident. In an age of long-term contracts, owners should think twice about long-term deals for running quarterbacks.

 

 

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