I think of adding Cam Newton as a backup quarterback the same way I think of adding an attractive maid to a household. If you're not totally secure in your (quarterback-head coach) marriage, it can only go one of three destructive ways:
- You pull an Arnold Schwarzenegger, and end up having a kid with your attractive maid.
- Your wife becomes resentful that you chose to add an attractive maid to the household.
- You make a pass at your attractive maid, she denies you, tells your wife, and you're totally screwed.
Most NFL teams simply aren't secure enough in their quarterback-head coach marriage to bring in a former MVP, greek god-looking figure like Cam Newton. Imagine Kyle Shanahan - who's expressed doubts about Jimmy Garoppolo through backchannels, and by bleeding the clock with 1:53 left and multiple timeouts left while tied at the end of the first half of the Super Bowl - had to try and resist starting Newton on a weekly basis. Even if Shanahan managed to hold back his wandering eye, Garoppolo surely couldn't help but feel threatened. Especially after the 49ers admitted to exhausting their options with Tom Brady this offseason.
Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray should be immune to this, though. First of all, Kliff has been smitten with Kyler Murray for far too long to let anything get in between their budding relationship.
Second, Kyler is a miniature version of Cam Newton, only less needy. Kyler is a former Heisman trophy winner, he was the best high school football player in talent-rich Texas, he was drafted in the 1st-round of Major League Baseball, and he was the 1st-overall pick in the NFL. How's that for stature? Kyler is one of only a few NFL quarterbacks whose talent doesn't look middling compared to Newton.
So, jealousy and drama aside, Cam Newton would make a pretty good backup, right? Yes, if you can handle his attention-seeking personality.
Luckily for the Cardinals, both Kyler and Kliff have experience in this regard. Kyler backed up the captivating Baker Mayfield at Oklahoma, and Kliff coached Mayfield at Texas Tech, as well as with the star-studded-and-unstable Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M. Murray and Kingsbury have quiet, workmanlike demeanors, which seem to lend themselves to dynamic personalities.
It's not like the Cardinals couldn't use an upgrade. In Brett Hundley's 9 games as a starter for Green Bay in 2017, he went 3-6 while throwing 9 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. That doesn't inspire much confidence if Kyler winds up sidelined with an injury.
There's also the possibility that Newton becomes trade ammunition. If a contending team loses their quarterback for the season, the Cardinals could trade a healthy, cheap Cam Newton in the middle of the 2020-21 season for a a 3rd-round pick. That's nothing to stick your nose up at.
How could it help Cam? If he can't fit in as a starter anywhere - and he's not expected to - the next best thing is to sign on with a team whose offense can make you look good in the event that the starter goes down. Kingsbury has a stellar track record with mobile quarterbacks like Manziel, Mayfield, Mahomes and Murray. Newton could be next.
Did I just play matchmaker?