The MVP without a team - where could Cam Newton be playing in 2020?
Newton was released on Tuesday less than a week after being given permission to seek a trade
By Cameron Hogwood
Last Updated: 26/03/20 5:15pm
One-time league MVP Cam Newton was officially released by the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday - but the market currently looks blurred for the former Heisman Trophy winner.
As Carolina embrace a fresh start under new head coach Matt Rhule and with Teddy Bridgewater under center, Newton is now left in search of his next challenge after nine seasons with the Panthers.
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Having had close to a full season to rest his mind and body while placed on injured reserve, where will Superman land?
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers moved on from Philip Rivers, now of the Indianapolis Colts, after 16 seasons this offseason, but have since indicated they have no intention of adding another veteran quarterback to their roster.
Head coach Anthony Lynn opened the door for Tyrod Taylor to compete for the starting job in 2020, ultimately reaffirming the likelihood of the Chargers drafting a new play-caller in April.
Cousins, Vikings agree two-year extension
The Minnesota Vikings are signing quarterback Kirk Cousins to a new two-year contract extension.
Following Newton's release in Carolina, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport claimed both the Chargers and Chicago Bears had declined an opportunity to sign the 30-year-old.
Taking up the offer would have inevitably cost valuable draft capital, along with what could prove a hefty salary regardless of contract length.
San Francisco 49ers
Now to throw a wildcard into the mix. Newton, the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan.
Imagine what one of the NFL's most talented offensive minds could get from one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks to play the game.
Texans trade Hopkins to Cardinals
The Houston Texans are trading star receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson.
It looks as though Jimmy Garoppolo is still very much their man in the Bay Area, despite scrutiny over his job security on the back of Super Bowl LIV.
The arrival of Travis Benjamin meanwhile plunges a shock move for Newton into further doubt after the pair's infamous feuds in the past.
As far as entertainment value goes, Newton in California is a prized attraction.
Las Vegas Raiders
Has there been a time over the last two years when Derek Carr's future with the Raiders wasn't being questioned?
Jon Gruden has already added a useful resource and potential competition for Carr in former Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, who signed on a two-year $17.6m contract.
He is now presented with the chance to potentially replace Carr's conservative approach with the flair and athleticism to channel his play-calling talents.
49ers trade Buckner to Colts
The San Francisco 49ers have traded defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick.
While Newton may be an intriguing piece to the jigsaw, the Raiders' cap space is thinning quickly and it will require the shipping of more players to free up the money for not only another big free agency acquisition but also the prospects they draft.
New England Patriots
Bill Belichick and Newton would be among the most unlikely head coach/quarterback tandems imaginable right now, but the Patriots are an organisation that will be in no mood to sit around while Tom Brady dominates the spotlight in Tampa Bay.
Jarrett Stidham looks as though he'll get his shot at the starting job with veteran Brian Hoyer as backup, while cap space would again be a potential issue for the Patriots were they to pursue Newton.
Vikings trade WR Diggs to Bills
The Buffalo Bills have acquired wide receiver Stefon Diggs in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings.
Nonetheless, a success-rich franchise lacking obvious explosiveness on offense could benefit from the added impetus a healthy Newton would inject.
The Athletic's Patriots reporter Jeff Howe claimed there was no immediate interest in Newton in Foxborough, but don't rule it out just yet.
Regarding Cam Newton, it doesn’t appear the Patriots have any immediate interest in adding the QB, per source.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 24, 2020
The Jags and Doug Marrone seemingly handed the keys to Gardner Minshew on a permanent basis last week as they traded Nick Foles and his mammoth contract to the Chicago Bears.
That said, Newton would represent arguably the best quarterback Jacksonville have ever fielded should they add him to what is a major rebuild.
Cowboys place exclusive tag on Prescott
The Dallas Cowboys have placed an exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Dak Prescott, preventing him from entering free agency.
It's a team in desperate need of a spark after the worrying decline since their AFC Championship game defeat to the Patriots in 2018.
The prospect of Newton lining up alongside Leonard Fournette will surely cross general manager David Caldwell's mind.
The Washington Redskins appeared to withdraw their name from the discussion when they traded for Kyle Allen, who is now set to backup Dwayne Haskins after serving as starter in Newton's absence last season.
In Miami, the Dolphins are widely-expected to draft Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, while the Denver Broncos are set on Drew Lock.
It seems strange to suggest there are no obvious suitors right now for a man that boasts such an impressive haul of individual NFL records.