Now that Jameis Winston is finally off the table, having signed a one-year contract with the New Orleans Saints to back up Drew Brees, the brigade calling for the Pittsburgh Steelers to address the backup quarterback position has turned all of its attention to Cam Newton, formerly of the Carolina Panthers.
Kyle Brandt of the Good Morning Football crew doubled down on his Newton-to-Pittsburgh spiel, which I’ve transcribed for your reading pleasure:
I said yesterday Pittsburgh, and I’ve slept on it, and I like it even more, for a bunch of reasons. Practically, go ahead and look up how many times Ben Roethlisberger started 16 games in his career. It’s a few. It’s not pretty. I also think he and Cam are kind of becoming the same player, this large, looming, physical pocket player who spends too long and takes a lot of hits.
And I also think if Cam were to come in and back up Ben, I can see Cam being good with that. He is backing up a made guy, a Hall-of-Fame guy. I just can’t picture going on a broadcast and Cam is on a sideline talking to Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy. I don’t know if that would fly.
I think Cam could go to one of the premiere franchises that’s always relevant, back up a Hall-of-Famer, maybe for a game before he has to go in, and maybe have a future in Pittsburgh with that defense. If I was Cam’s guy, I would be like, ‘Cam, Pittsburgh would be a huge win.
One quick note before we go any further on this subject is the fact that, unlike Winston, whose contract expired, Newton was released (by his request). That means any team who wanted to sign him could have done so at any point after his release without penalty against the compensatory pick formula. Winston’s market did not surface until after the formula deadline passed, after which he was very quickly signed.
The biggest question with Newton is, what would it take to sign him? The inevitable answer would be ‘more than the Steelers could afford’. The entire premise of this ‘veteran quarterback to Pittsburgh’ conversation is flawed, because it implies Pittsburgh would have the salary cap to do so, which they don’t.
Meanwhile, local radio jockeys are still trying to contradict Kevin Colbert in claiming that they did offer Winston a contract, but that he turned it down to sign for less with the Saints so that he could learn from Brees. That certainly sounds like something the agent of a first-round bust would be telling people after he signed for $1.1 million plus playing incentives.