Pro Football Focus projects Bengals will sign Cam Newton in offseason
In an article ranking the top 50 free agents for 2021 Pro Football Focus predicts Cam Newton will sign the Cincinnati Bengals.
The uncertainty of when Joe Burrow will return from reconstructive knee surgery could put the Cincinnati Bengals in position to sign a quarterback in the 2021 offseason. Pro Football Focus predicts that Cam Newton will sign with the Bengals in an article titled “2021 Free Agency: Ranking the NFL’s top 50 free agents.”
Newton signed with the New England Patriots for one-year and $1.75 million in July. It has been an uneven season for Newton in New England. The former MVP would be a huge upgrade for the Bengals as a potential starter early in the season and as the backup to Burrow when he is ready to return sometime during the 2021 season.
Newton has completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 1,984 four touchdowns and nine interceptions this season. With 92 carries for 387 yards and nine rushing TDs Newton has been an asset for New England on the ground. Once Burrow returned Newton would be an asset for the Bengals in short yardage.
Pro Football Focus predicts that Newton will sign a one-year $20 million contract to sign with Cincinnati. That seems high for a QB who is playing for $1.75 million in 2020 and projects to be a backup for most of the 2021 season. PFF highlights that Newton has been less than an average passer for most of his career.
"15. QB CAM NEWTONOutside of Newton’s 2015 MVP season in which he graded at 86.5 overall, he’s been a mid-level passer with the added upside of what he brings to the run game. Newton is a monster in short yardage, and an effective offense can be built around that skillset.However, the 2015 season is far more of an outlier than the norm at this point, and Newton’s accuracy and decision making limit his potential in the passing game. He has two top-10 finishes in PFF quarterback rankings in his 10 years in the league.Newton was available for the entirety of the 2020 offseason until the Patriots swooped in at the last moment to offer him a one-year deal with a base value of just $1.75 million.Newton’s injuries were the primary obstacle keeping teams at bay, and although his 2020 campaign has been far from perfect, he’s third among all quarterbacks with 94 rushing attempts through Week 12 (trailing 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 start in this league. There have been some rough outings, but given his circumstances (new team, truncated offseason, worst WR/TE group in the NFL, and contracting COVID-19) he has also performed admirably for stretches of games.Prediction: Bengals sign Newton to a fully guaranteed one-year, $20 million contract."
The limitations that Newton brings in the passing game would still be a huge upgrade for the Bengals over Brandon Allen and Ryan Finley. Newton has a 79.8 passer rating and 50.6 QBR this season. Burrow had an 89.8 and 57.7 this season, Allen 67.6 and 10.9 and Finley 0.0 and 20.9 in 10 attempts.
Finley came on in relief of Burrow when he was hurt two weeks ago against the Washington Football team. Allen started last Sunday against the New York Giants and is listed first on the depth chart for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins. Allen has been far more efficient than Finley was.
Finley was 3-10 for 30 yards an interception in his one appearance this season. Allen was 17-29 for 136 yards, one TD and one interception against the Giants. The Bengals need to get more downfield passing from Allen, but his 58.6 completion percentage was at least adequate if below average.