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Can an old dog learn new tricks, or can they at least use old tricks to fool new people? Some quarterbacks in the NFL never get to start for more than a game let alone a season. Others play long careers that abruptly end do to old age, injuries, or just awful play.
Then you get different set of signal caller that feels like they can play some more (or forever) but their teams don’t feel the same way. We’ve already seem a few instances of that situation during this free agency period.
Up In The Sky:
Cam Newton has played his entire career in Carolina after being drafted by the Panthers in 2011. Since then he’s won an offensive rookie of the year, a regular season M.V.P. award and even led his team to Superbowl 50.
In those nine seasons, Newton has racked up 29,041 passing yards and 4,806 rushing yards. Probably the oldest dual threat quarterback at age 30, he has scored a combined total of 240 touchdowns in his career.
All of those accomplishments couldn’t keep Newton in a Panthers’ uniform going forward as the team announced they have given him permission to seek a trade. Newton responded on social media basically saying he didn’t seek out a trade but rather was forced into the situation.
Newton has never been in a situation where things weren’t catered to him. Can he now assimilate to a different style of offense in the twilight years of his career? His rough and rumble style of play is vastly different from most other dual threat quarterbacks.
Can he learn to be more of a pocket passer and avoid running? Nobody is saying he needs to turn into a statue but he definitely has to reduce his hits to survive in the NFL going forward.
Newton should have a list of suitors but it will be extremely hard to find an ideal situation. With other free agent veterans with impressive resumes and a few rookies that could be game changers, the list might be smaller than we think.
Tom Brady’s stint with the New England Patriots has seemed like forever and it’s filled with a ton of accomplishments. I figured his stint with the Patriots would end with him retiring and riding out of Foxboro stadium on a white horse with wings into the sunset.
Well, that fantasy ended when free agency opened and Brady decided he would sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers offense was near the top of the league last season but they finished with the most turnovers in the league.
Tampa Bay has also not made the playoffs since the end of the 2007 season. Is Brady the guy to put them over the top or do the Buccaneers have delusions of grandeur? The six time Superbowl champion will be 43 when the 2020 season starts can he really be a difference maker like in years past?
Tampa Bay is hoping they are getting a steady hand that can lead this team to the playoffs and beyond. Brady has proven he can get the job done but last season proved he definitely will need some (more) help to do so. I think we can all agree that seeing Brady in another uniform will be weird, no matter how well he plays.
Replacing The Long Term Replacement:
Phillip Rivers has had one of the most enigmatic careers we’ve ever seen. He wasn’t drafted by the (at the time) San Diego Chargers and wasn’t even pegged to be their starter in the beginning. After 16 seasons he is on the cusp of throwing his 400th touchdown pass as well as his 200th interception.
Those numbers definitely sum up Rivers’ career, because he has certainly looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the league but also the worst at key moments.
He has been named to eight pro bowls and has thrown for over 4,000 yards in eleven different seasons. He’s also thrown his fair share of bad interceptions and last year was one of his worst in that category.
Rivers has moved on from the Los Angeles Chargers and will sign with the Indianapolis Colts. Rivers will supplant incumbent starter Jacoby Brissett, who replaced Andrew Luck last season. The Colts finished in the middle of the pack in scoring and near the bottom of the league in passing yards.
The team only managed 22 touchdowns passes in 2019 and Rivers has surpassed that total in 13 different seasons. The Colts are hoping they can get the good version of Rivers for a couple of seasons and not the turnover machine they saw last year. Rivers has to prove the gas left in the tank can move the chains and get some wins.
There you have it, three players with three weird scenarios and the free agency fun has just started. Will they succeed or will they wish they would’ve stayed where they were at?