Cam Newton was the first pick in the 2011 NFL draft. The Carolina Panther tabbed the Auburn star as their franchise quarterback, and he did not disappoint. Newton started every game his rookie year, and while he only posted six wins, it was clear he was their quarterback for the long term.
Now, a mere decade later and Newton finds himself unemployed as the NFL dead period looms in the run-up to training camp. It isn’t uncommon for teams to move on from quarterbacks, especially when their play starts to decline, and the salary starts to increase.
Newton topped out as a starter in 2015 when he won 15 games and an MVP award. The Panthers lost the Super Bowl to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, but many expected Newton to have a repeat season in 2016. It never happened, and here Cam Newton is, seven seasons later, looking for a job.
So, what is the reason? Age? Declining skills? No, Cam claims it is his hair. On Josina Anderson’s “Undefined” podcast, Cam had some interesting theories. Fox reported: “It’s been hindered. And I’m not changin’.”People have hinted towards to say like, ‘Cam, we want you to go back to the 2015 clean-cut Cam. But that was a different me. Right now, where I’m at, it’s about embracing who I am.”
The New England Patriots signed him in 2020, where he started 15 games and somehow only threw eight touchdowns. It should be noted that he had dreadlocks then, and in 2021 as well, when he did a repeat stint with Carolina, playing in 8 games and only managing four touchdown passes. Clearly, it’s more than the dreds causing Newton to be unemployed. Cam went on to give more weird excuses:
“There was hints toward it,” he said, via Bleacher Report. “And I gained a lot of great counsel from a lot of people. And the thing that is always mentioned is, ‘Yo, Cam, you scarin’ people the way you look.’
“And I would say, ‘Yo, like I’m not gonna name names, but there’s other quarterbacks that’s in the league that don’t look like me, but they got long hair. They don’t scare them, do they?’ So, we can go tit for tat, tat for tit with it. But I would just turn and nod to that and say, ‘That’s not the reason why I’m not in the NFL.'”
It is questionable how great the counsel Cam received was. Instead of telling Newton the cold, hard truth, people just blamed implied racism and Newton’s appearance. The skill is obviously eroding, but hair notwithstanding, maybe his inside counsel has a point. Newton has displayed increasingly bizarre, diva behavior since the MVP season of 2015. Perhaps Cam read too many of his own press clippings and started to believe the “Superman” nickname he gave himself.
Describe Cam Newton’s MVP season in three words or less 👇
— Football Reels 📽 (@TheFBReels) May 1, 2023
Or perhaps it was the shoulder injury that derailed his 2016 season and ultimately ruined his mechanics, which weren’t great to begin with. Once Newton’s physical skills started to decline, as they always do with big, physical quarterbacks, he didn’t have the arm strength and accuracy to fall back on, not to mention the fact that he was never the cerebral, Manning-type field general anyway.
The shoulder injury, the lack of field awareness, the diva attitude, the declining physicality, and the unwillingness to accept that he is, at best, a backup and spot starter at this point in his career are why Cam Newton isn’t currently employed. If he is willing to accept the reality of the situation and tone down the histrionics, some team will come calling, hair or no hair. Until then, Cam Newton can grow his hair and complain all he wants from his couch.
Featured image screengrab from embedded Tweet
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