Should Bears kick the tires on Cam Newton as a backup?
Chuck Cook - USA Today Sports

Should Bears kick the tires on Cam Newton as a backup?


by - Senior Writer -

When the Bears traded up to get Justin Fields two years ago, they were willing to admit they made a mistake on Mitch Trubisky. That pick also signified a chance at a do-over, as the Bears were willing to take a shot on Fields to be the franchise QB they have been lacking.

After a horrendous rookie season, Ryan Poles entered as the new GM last year and was willing to commit to Fields for at least one season. The team then goes 3-14 to earn the No. 1 pick despite Fields showing tons of growth and improvement in year two. Even at that, there were talks about the Bears potentially moving on from Fields as some thought Poles wanted to draft his own guy with the No. 1 pick this year.

After trading away the No. 1 pick to get DJ Moore and adding guys like Chase Claypool last season, not only have the trade talks surrounding Fields gone away, but Poles has firmly instilled the confidence in Fields that he is their man going forward. However, as good as Fields is, he still needs a reliable backup, which the Bears need to address this season.

You saw guys like Trevor Siemien and Nathan Peterman on the roster last year, but none of them can be considered legitimate options should Fields go down for an extended period. While Peterman may have been brought back, Siemien wasn't and thus was replaced by former Carolina Panther PJ Walker.

Even at that, the Bears are still in a position no team wants to be in, as they don't have a long-term option should Fields get hurt for an extended period of time. Allow me to pitch the idea of another former Panther QB, Cam Newton, coming aboard as the perfect backup to Fields. Not only is Newton for the idea, but he has similar traits to Fields, so the offense wouldn't have to change much if they went to Newton.

Newton was a former Heisman Trophy winner for Auburn before going No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers. Ironically, he was the last No. 1 pick for the Panthers, who are picking No. 1 overall again this season after trading with the Bears. During his tenure with the Panthers, Newton set all kinds of QB records for rushing yards and TDS and is the winningest QB in Panthers history. He even led them to a super bowl appearance before getting blasted by the Broncos.

Per usual, all good things must come to an end, and his overall success came to a crashing halt much quicker than anyone thought it would. This guy hasn't started a game since 2021 with the New England Patriots, but he still feels worthy of being a starter again this season. However, Newton has also realized that he is at the point in his career where he may have to be a backup and has said he would love to join the Bears to mentor Fields.

I can think of a million worse scenarios than having Newton be the backup, so it will be interesting to see how serious he is and where the money talks go. Newton has clarified that he wants an opportunity to start, but has said he will be a backup in the right situation. He then went on to list 10 QBs he would be willing to back up, and to everyone's surprise, Fields was listed as one of the 10.

Looking at the rest of the names he listed, Fields is right there with Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Malik Willis, Tua Tagovaiola, Jalen Hurts, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen, and Sam Howell. Take Rodgers out of the equation, and the rest of the QBs listed have a similar skillset to Newton, although Allen is at an entirely different level.

Among the names listed, Jackson, Watson, Allen, and Hurts make little sense as they are franchise QBs about to get long-term or have long-term deals. You then look at Tua, who has franchise QB written all over him, but can't stay healthy. That could open the door for Newton to get back into the NFL.

Howell and Willis are intriguing options, as Washington is committed to Howell this season. Who knows how that will go, and Washington could use a valuable backup. The situation in Tennessee is the most intriguing part of all this, as they need to decide if Ryan Tannehill still has what it takes or if Willis is now the guy. Should they commit to Willis, Newton better be on the phone with Tennessee, as he could start over Willis right now.

Having Fields on this list goes to show what Newton thinks about him. Newton isn't going to back up just anyone, and the QBs he listed, apart from two, are excellent QBs. Newton must feel that Fields is not only a good QB, but someone worth sitting behind with the opportunity to mentor him. If I were Poles, I would kick the tires on this idea and see what it would take to get Newton here and how long he wants to stay.

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