For the second time, Focus on professional football predicted Bengals will sign former NFL Most Valuable Player Cam Newton in the offseason. Even at the low cost Newton is projected at, it’s hard to see the Bengals signing the quarterback. Newton struggled with the New England Patriots in 2020.
The Bengals are more likely to spend their money elsewhere than on a backup QB. The QB save game Brandon Allen after Joe Terrier was lost for the season that likely landed him the Bengals backup role in 2021 Ryan Finley. With Burrow set to return for the start of the season, signing Newton would be a surprise.
Newton has struggled in 2020. In 15 games, all started in 2020, Newton completed 65.8% of his passes for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Newton was an efficient rusher with 537 rushing yards and an NFL leading 12 rushing touchdowns for QBs. Newton finished 28th in passer rating and 30th in QBR.
PFF sheds light on Newton’s career as a passer. The 2015 MVP season that Newton led the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl was more of an aberration than the norm. Newton has been hailed as an effective QB when the offense is built around his skills. In Cincinnati, that won’t happen.
So @spotrac projected market values for four Bengals free agents.
AJ Green: 1 year, $6 million
Carl Lawson: 4 years, $35 million ($8.8 million per)
William Jackson: 3 years, $19M, ($6.3M per)
Mackensie Alexander: 3 years, $25M ($8.4M per)
—Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) January 25, 2021
34. QB CAM NEWTON
Outside of Newton’s 2015 MVP season in which he earned an 86.5 overall rating, he’s been a mid-level passer with the added benefit of what he brings to the running game. Newton is a close range monster, and an effective offense can be built around this skill set.
However, the 2015 season is far more outlier than the norm at this point, and Newton’s accuracy and decision-making limit his potential in the passing game. He has twice finished in the top 10 in the PFF quarterback rankings in his 10 years in the league.
Contract analysis: Newton was available for the entire 2020 offseason until the Patriots stepped in at the last moment to offer him a one-year deal with a base value of just $1.75 million.
Newton’s injuries have been the biggest hurdle that has kept teams at bay, and while his 2020 campaign has been far from perfect, he’s third among all quarterbacks with 94 rushing attempts in Week 12 ( behind only Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray).
He may not be the MVP-caliber quarterback he once was, but he’s made it clear he still deserves to play in this league. There were a few tough outings, but given his circumstances (new team, truncated offseason, worst WR/TE group in the NFL, contracting COVID-19), he also played admirably during game periods.
Prediction: The Bengals sign Newton to a fully guaranteed, one-year, $5 million contract.
Newton was second among all QBs in 2020 in rushing attempts and third behind lamar jackson of Baltimore and Kyler Murray of Arizona in rushing yards. The Bengals offense with Burrow brings some very different traits than Newton. Cincinnati needs a QB they can develop who has similar traits to Burrow.
Clearly not as talented as Burrow, Allen showed his ability to be successful in the passing game as he gained more experience on offense for the Bengals. Allen has completed 63.4% of his passes in 2020 for 925 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. Allen had an 82.0 passer rating and 44.9 QBR. Newton was 82.9 and 47.2.
Allen is an unrestricted free agent this offseason who won $339,000 in 2020. Due to a raise, Allen would still not earn close to the $5 million that PFF expects Newton to sign with the Bengals in 2021. Cincinnati should spend the money more wisely, re-sign Allen and be able distribute money more efficiently.