Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press
When NFL free agency began March 18, the quarterback market looked much different than it does now.
After 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Fellow veteran Philip Rivers signed with the Indianapolis Colts. And the Carolina Panthers made numerous moves, as they signed Teddy Bridgewater, traded Kyle Allen to the Washington Redskins and released former NFL MVP Cam Newton.
Consequently, most teams have starting quarterbacks in place for the 2020 season. However, there are some signal-callers with starting experience, such as Newton and former Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, who are still looking for jobs.
Here’s the latest buzz surrounding the quarterback market, including rumors involving Winston and Newton.
Is Winston Destined to Head to Pittsburgh?
It seems unlikely that Winston will be a starting quarterback in the NFL this upcoming season. After throwing 30 interceptions last year, he may need to prove that he can take better care of the ball, and he might have to serve in a backup role before getting that opportunity.
There has been some speculation that the best place for Winston to do that would be with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He would be the backup to Ben Roethlisberger but could perhaps get an opportunity to get on the field down the line. It’s a spot that CBS Sports writer Will Brinson thinks could be beneficial for Winston.
“I think it would make sense to go to Pittsburgh, sit, learn behind Ben, rehabilitate your situation,” Brinson said on CBS Sports HQ. “Maybe do a one-year deal or a two-year deal, something like Marcus Mariota, where if Ben gets hurt or he can’t come back from the elbow surgery, you have an opportunity to step in and make a lot of money in an incentive-laden contract.”
Although Winston struggled with turning over the ball, he led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards last season while also throwing 33 touchdowns. Still only 26, the former No. 1 overall draft pick should get a starting opportunity again in the future, even if he has to spend some time as a backup first.
Newton a Potential Fit for Patriots?
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The Patriots might be content heading into the season with Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer and Cody Kessler as the quarterbacks after Brady’s departure. However, NFL Media’s Nick Shook sees them as a potential fit for a former MVP quarterback.
After getting released by the Panthers on Tuesday, Cam Newton will seek an opportunity where he can be a starter and prove that he’s recovered from the foot injury that limited him to two games last season. Shook thinks the Pats could sign Newton to a “one-year prove-it deal,” giving head coach Bill Belichick a different type of quarterback than he’s had in the past.
“Newton wouldn’t have a ton of weapons to work with but would have a reliable slot receiver in Julian Edelman—and not the stiffest competition to battle for the starting job,” Shook wrote. “The Patriots could afford to take a team-friendly gamble on Newton and potentially benefit in a major way.”
In 2015, Newton won the NFL MVP Award and led the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance. If he could return to that form for the Patriots, perhaps he could help to maintain their run of success in the AFC East.
Pats Reportedly Considered Allen
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Mike McCarn/Associated Press
Before Kyle Allen was traded Monday, another team might have considered acquiring the 24-year-old quarterback: the Patriots.
According to The MMQB’s Albert Breer, New England “sniffed around a little” on Allen, who was dealt to Washington in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick. Instead, the Pats stood pat with their quarterback situation. And Breer thinks that could continue to be the case during free agency.
“My belief is that the Patriots’ post-Brady plan has 2020 as a year to get younger and get finances straightened out, and both should be apparent in how they handle the quarterback spot,” Breer wrote.
If the Patriots don’t add a free agent like Newton or select a quarterback with the No. 23 pick in the draft, then Stidham would likely begin his second NFL season as New England’s starter.
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