The Case Against Trading Cam
Finding a team willing to take a chance on Cam Newton’s ability to return to his MVP form is one thing: getting the right price is another matter. Any potential trade partner would almost certainly have to be a team looking to contend in the short-term, thus reducing the possibility of moving Newton to a bottom-dwelling team. Even if teams like Pittsburgh could stand to benefit from Cam’s arrival, putting together the right package would be difficult: Pittsburgh has already burned through significant draft capital in acquiring Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins.
Even if a team like Chicago expressed interest, any deal would have to be tied to locking Newton down with a long-term deal. Any team looking to pay a steep price for Newton’s services would be foolish to pay an arm and a leg for a short-term rental. With lingering issues over Newton’s health and productivity, negotiating a new deal could scare away contenders looking to upgrade at the quarterback position.
These negative factors coincide with questions over whether Kyle Allen is the long-term answer at quarterback in Carolina. Certainly, a healthy Allen offers more to the team than an injured Newton, but would this still apply with a healthy Newton? At full strength, Newton offers a more dynamic threat than Allen does; the threat of Cam’s running could take some of the burden off of McCaffrey, opening up the offensive play-calling.
Worth noting is the fact that Allen has yet to be truly tested with top-tier opposition in his young career. His lone start in 2018 came against a New Orleans team resting its starters for the playoffs, and so far in 2019 Allen has only played one team – the Houston Texans – that possesses a winning record. Such a small sample size against quality defenses is an extremely dangerous gamble. If Carolina ultimately comes up craps on Allen, having Newton waiting in the wings softens the blow. Trading Newton means the potential failure of Allen to lock down the starting job long-term carries disastrous consequences.
All eyes will rest on Allen’s performance when the Panthers head to California for their showdown with the undefeated 49ers. If the road test proves too much for the young quarterback, Cam Newton may earn one more chance to reclaim the role that has been his since he entered the league in 2011. If Allen keeps the Panthers in contention in Santa Clara on Sunday, trade whispers may become open discussions; another fascinating turn in what has become an eventful ride for Allen, Newton and the 2019 Carolina Panthers.