The Cleveland Browns briefly considered the idea of adding veteran quarterback Cam Newton early on in free agency this past offseason.
That is according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who reported on his podcast on Monday that the Browns had one conversation with Newton (quotes via CBS Sports):
Patriots were the only team to make an offer to Cam Newton. But there as one other team that checked in with him.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 29, 2020
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“The truth of the matter is that Cam Newton did not have any other offers from any other teams. There was nobody that was calling him and lighting up his phone, trying to recruit him to a certain city. There was one other team that did have one conversation with him. It was very brief; it didn’t go very far. But the Cleveland Browns did speak to Cam Newton at one point in time. But those talks never really went anywhere. They did with New England.”
The report that the Browns spoke with Newton in the offseason means one of two things:
- The club was looking to add a veteran quarterback to the roster and wanted to at least perform its due diligence on Newton, who saw his season end on injured reserve each of the past two years, including 2019 when he only played the first two games before suffering a Lisfranc fracture.
- The Browns are clearly planning to go into the upcoming season with quarterback Baker Mayfield on the proverbial short leash, and desperately needed a quarterback on hand so they could confidently bench Mayfield at the first sign of trouble.
Spoiler alert: option one is the only acceptable answer.
Cleveland obviously did not like what they heard during their one, “very brief” conversation with Newton, and subsequently signed veteran quarterback Case Keenum to a three-year, $18 million contract to serve as Mayfield’s backup.
Newton agreed on Sunday to a one-year, incentive-laden contract with the New England Patriots, one of the “low-risk, high-reward” type of deals that some people get overly excited about — especially when they involve the Patriots.
It seems doubtful, however, that general manager Andrew Berry or head coach Kevin Stefanski will be losing any sleep over the decision to pass on Newton.