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Sport Why did the Bears (and other teams) pass on Cam Newton?

03:15  30 june  2020
03:15  30 june  2020 Source:   sports.yahoo.com

Cam Newton’s contract ranks 53rd among NFL quarterbacks

  Cam Newton’s contract ranks 53rd among NFL quarterbacks Newton agreed to a one-year deal with a base of $1.05 million, but could earn another $700,000 in per-game roster bonuses and up to $5.75 million in additional incentives. The maximum value of his contract is $7.5 million.According to the Globe’s Ben Volin, Newton’s cap number, $1.1375 million, ranks 53rd among NFL quarterbacks. New England’s quarterback room carries the lowest price tag in the NFL, and in addition to Newton consists of Brian Hoyer ($1.05 million), Jarrett Stidham ($834,028), J’Mar Smith ($611,666) and Brian Lewerke ($610,833).After getting drafted No.

New England Patriots inked Cam Newton to a free agent contract this weekend. The New England Patriots signed free-agent quarterback Cam Newton to replace legend Tom Brady on the same day But because of the coronavirus, he hasn't had a chance to meet with other teams to show he's healthy.

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It took until June to happen, and it wasn’t for relatively that much money, but Cam Newton is officially off the market.

Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers looks on from the sidelines against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL football game at Levi's Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Santa Clara, Calif. © Getty Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers looks on from the sidelines against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL football game at Levi's Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Santa Clara, Calif.

His signing with the New England Patriots has changed perception for the quarterback market this offseason, even though there’s no escaping the idea that Newton’s health and challenging offseason conditions hurt his cause.

Had there been no coronavirus pandemic, could things have gone differently for the former MVP? Absolutely. A clearer medical picture and no restrictions on teams bringing in free agents for visits might have laid out a completely different marketplace.

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But even so, it’s fair to question in retrospect whether some teams made the right calls at QB.

The Chicago Bears are one of those teams. And maybe we can add the Indianapolis Colts to that list as well. By the end of the 2020 season, a healthy Newton could make even more teams feel that way.

It’s true that the Patriots’ patience likely paid off in the form of a discount; according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, the Patriots only ramped up their interest in Newton once he “softened his contract demands.”

What was stopping the Bears and other teams from playing their hands similarly? There appear to be a few factors involved.

Competition for the incumbent

The Bears are such a curious study, and their quest for a franchise quarterback is seemingly entering its fourth decade now.

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In declining Mitch Trubisky’s fifth-year option — which is only guaranteed for injury — the Bears sent a message that they’re unhappy to this point with his development. Head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace have now said there’s an “open competition” in Chicago.

But in trading for Nick Foles, they’ve simultaneously sent the message that they hope Trubisky can still show something. We think that’s their thinking, anyway.

Taking on Foles and the $21 million left on his restructured deal (and giving up a fourth-round pick to do so) might on the surface appear as if he’s the odds-on favorite to win the job outright at the start of camp. After all, even Chase Daniel might agree that’s quite a bit for a backup QB.

Couldn’t they have done the same with Newton, though? At most, Cam could make $7.5 million this season. Foles’ deal looks terrible, even for a QB who led a Super Bowl run not long ago.

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Certainly his previous experience with three Bears coaches — Nagy, plus new assistants John DeFilippo and Bill Lazor — must be weighed into the equation. In this of all offseasons, it seems the Bears wanted a quarterback who can digest the offensive system quickly, and the journeyman Foles is regarded as a quick study who should be able to fold right back into the Nagy scheme, which is derivative of the offense Foles ran with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Did the Chicago Bears consider Mitchell Trubisky too much of a threat for Mitch Trubisky? (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! Sports Did the Chicago Bears consider Mitchell Trubisky too much of a threat for Mitch Trubisky? (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

But it also appears as if the Bears didn’t want to bring in an alpha dog who could threaten Trubisky. Newton’s talent, experience and charisma all trump that of Trubisky right now if Newton is healthy. And he could smell blood and steal the starting job the Bears seemingly want Trubisky to somehow keep.

This is the slippery slope the Bears might be playing: They wanted a QB who is good enough to push Trubisky and possibly beat him out if needed, but not too good or with too dominant a persona. In other words, they’re trying to butter both sides of the bread.

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We’ll leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide whether that’s a smart tactic or a completely foolhardy one. Especially for a Bears coach and GM whose job security might be directly tied to the team’s performance this coming season.

Were Cam Newton’s injury concerns that worrisome?

If you’re a skeptic about Newton’s health, it’s understandable. His foot injury was bad enough that there was real concern about his long-term prognosis. Even though Newton’s recent workout video suggests he is moving around better, there’s no real way to tell whether he is good to go for the short or long terms.

Newton also has a surgically repaired shoulder that caused him to miss the very end of the 2018 season. It’s maybe the lesser of the two worries, but it can’t go overlooked.

His health is a big reason (sans a full medical evaluation) why Newton had to wait so long — and get so little guaranteed money — this offseason.

But doesn’t Foles possess some injury questions too? He suffered a broken clavicle last season that cost him the starting job; Foles got it back briefly late last season but was benched again for poor play. It was Foles’ second such injury in the past five years.

Some guys (just ask Aaron Rodgers) appear to be more prone to such things. And did you realize that Foles is six months older than Newton?

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Foles has never played a full 16 games in the NFL. Newton, meanwhile, had only missed five of the first 128 regular-season games of his career through December 2018.

And taking it a step further, if the Bears really are hoping for Trubisky to flourish, Newton’s health shouldn’t have been as big a concern — and it would have come more cheaply than Foles did.

The Colts might have made an ever bigger mistake

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, Newton is healthy entering training camp.

Which QB would you rather have: a 31-year-old Newton, five years removed from an MVP award and costing as much as a high-priced backup or a soon-to-be 39-year-old Philip Rivers on a $25 million, fully guaranteed deal?

Like with the Bears and Trubisky, the Colts have some coaching-staff familiarity with Rivers. And Rivers, to be fair, hasn’t missed a game with injury since taking over the starting job back in 2006.

But if you’re thinking on a salary-to-performance wavelength, Rivers had better be pretty darned good with the Colts in 2020 — far better than his respectable statistics in 2019 might suggest.

The Colts didn’t feel they could take that proverbial next step with Jacoby Brissett, and it’s an understandable point of view. Brissett took steps backward after a strong first eight games in 2019 (64.8 completion percentage, 1,649 pass yards, 14-3 TD-INT ratio), suffering a knee injury that caused him to miss one full game and leading to his late-season struggles (56.40 completion percentage, 1,293 pass yards, 4-3 TD-INT ratio).

a man holding a bat on a field: Philip Rivers must prove he's a $25 million QB if the Colts are to feel justified in their offseason plan. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! Sports Philip Rivers must prove he's a $25 million QB if the Colts are to feel justified in their offseason plan. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

Still, it’s not hard to imagine a healthy Newton playing at a level that’s comparable — or superior — to that of Rivers in 2020.

Burning questions ahead of 2020 NFL training camps

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Colts head coach Frank Reich and GM Chris Ballard have beefed up an already good run game this offseason, adding second-rounder Jonathan Taylor and fullback Roosevelt Nix to an offense that ranked seventh in rush yards per game a year ago.

It’s clear they want to dominate up front and open up play-action possibilities, which make sense. Rivers indeed has been a great play-action passer for most of his career. But so has Newton when healthy, and he adds an element to the run game that could have made the Colts’ ground attack potentially even more diverse.

On top of that, the Colts have no clear-cut QB of the future — not even a Trubisky-like player whose fragility they must consider. Brissett is a free agent at season’s end, and Ballard warned us to slow our rolls when it comes to 2020 fourth-round QB Jacob Eason.

We’ll see if Rivers can fill the void the Colts are hoping. Comparing his 2020 performance to that of Newton will end up being pretty fascinating come season’s end.

And if Newton plays anywhere close to the level he was at in the middle of the 2018 season, there will be more teams than just the Bears and Colts who will be regretful they didn’t take a gamble on him.

More from Yahoo Sports:

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2020 NFL win totals, odds, predictions, best bets: Model picks under 9 wins for Colts .
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