“Let’s Play The Price is Right!” – Where will Cam Newton & Andy Dalton land in 2020?
By Ha Kung Wong
I know you all are familiar with the Price is Right. It’s terrific fun, not only to play along with this long running TV game show, but to check out those awesome t-shirts that contestants wear to get attention. For instance, how about this t-shirt from a guy who apparently is from Pittsburgh, or alternatively, is versed in some form of dothraki (and don’t ask, I’m not exactly sure what it says)…
Or how about this one where his bucket list apparently includes “Pet a sloth”…
Which by the way would be really weird if he was referring to Sloth, the character from the 1985 movie “The Goonies”. Don’t remember the movie? No prob, I can help with that since I’ve devoted way too much of my brain to worthless pop culture references distinctly from the 80’s and 90’s.
By the way, it’s “The Goonies“, not just “A Goonie“. Sort of like “The Ohio State University” because gosh forbid we mistake OSU for just “a” university in Ohio. I know you can’t see me right now but I’m totally rolling my eyes. Anyway, “The Goonies” was a movie about a “band of adventurous kids who take on the might of a property developing company which plans to destroy their home to build a country club. [But] when the children discover an old pirate map in the attic, they follow it into an underground cavern in search of lost treasure…” and yadda yadda yadda shenanigans ensue. If you didn’t realize it, I literally copied that from the movie description on IMDB, but even I lost interest halfway through the description.
Anyway, one of the main characters in “The Goonies” was the loveably deformed henchman with a heart of gold, Sloth.
By the way, if you couldn’t tell, Sloth is the guy on the right, not the kid with the beanie. Just sayin’. Interestingly, John Matuszak, who played Sloth, got his start as a defensive lineman for the University of Tampa where he was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the first round in 1973. He eventually moved to the Oakland Raiders and helped take the team to two Super Bowls, retiring in 1982 and appearing in several TV shows and movies including the aforementioned “The Goonies”. He also apparently did a spread in Playgirl, which is something I’m sharing with you because I want you to be as psychologically scarred from that information as I am. Anyway, I suppose that Price is Right guy actually doesn’t want to pet Sloth since he did say on his shirt “Pet A Sloth“, not “Pet The Sloth“. But I digress.
With Andy Dalton just release by the Bengals, both he and Cam Newton are fully available in free agency. And now that the NFL Draft is complete, there are only a few spots left where either veteran may make sense. Where might those be, you ask? Let’s take a look at both player profiles and examine where they could land for the upcoming 2020 season.
- Age 31 (at the start of 2020 season)
- 3 x Pro Bowls
- 10 x Offensive Player of the Week
- 2015 NFL MVP
- Regular Season Passer Rating: 86.1
- Regular Season Passing Yards/Game: 232.3
- Regular Season Passing TDs/Game: 1.46
- Regular Season Interception Percentage: 2.7
- Regular Season Rushing Yards/Game: 38.4
- Regular Season Rushing TDs/Game: 0.46
- 3-4 Playoff Record (losing Super Bowl 50 to the Broncos)
- Age 32 (at the start of 2020 season, becomes 33 in October)
- 3 x Pro Bowls
- 3 x Offensive Player of the Week
- 2 x Offensive Player of the Month
- Regular Season Passer Rating: 87.5
- Regular Season Passing Yards/Game: 237.5
- Regular Season Passing TDs/Game: 1.53
- Regular Season Interception Percentage: 2.7
- Regular Season Rushing Yards/Game: 9.2
- Regular Season Rushing TDs/Game: 0.17
- 0-4 Playoff Record
New England Patriots
Everyone is talking about the Patriots quarterback situation because it’s so bizarre that we have to talk about it. Tom Brady has been the unchallenged starter for the last 19 years and Drew Bledsoe was that guy for the 8 years before that. So it’s been about 27 years since New England fans had to wonder who was going to start behind center. The Patriots had a chance to pick a quarterback in the recent NFL Draft, and apparently, that wasn’t out of the question. But they ultimately ended up passing up on opportunities to take Jordan Love, Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm. So now all they have behind second-year pro, former 4th Round draft pick and presumptive starter, Jarrett Stidham (who’s had essentially zero NFL experience) is former backup Brian Hoyer, who they brought back in March. Sure, the Patriots did add undrafted free agents Brian Lewerke and J’Mar Smith after the Draft, but expecting them to develop into viable starters, particularly with the COVID-19 lock down in place, is foolhardy at best.
Both Newton and Dalton would give Belichick a proven veteran starter as the Patriots try to prove they can win without Brady and with a retooled roster. But Belichick appears to truly believes in Stidham, which weighs against the Patriots taking a serious look at either veteran.
That being said, if there’s one thing that Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels do well, it’s put players in the best position for success. Clearly, with a good supporting cast, both Newton and Dalton could be successful in New England. However, one thing that both Belichick and McDaniels hate are turnovers, and both Newton and Dalton have an interception percentage of 2.7, quite a bit higher than Tom Brady’s 1.8. Whether Stidham would be better than that as a starter is yet to be seen, but Stidham does have the benefit of a year’s experience with the Patriots offense, and learning from sitting behind Brady. Belichick and McDaniels favor accuracy and decision-making over stats, something that may be lacking in both veterans, at least recently in both careers.
The Patriots typically have three quarterbacks on the roster over the course of the summer and sometimes carry all three into the regular season. Currently, they have four including the two UDFAs. But picking up one of either Dalton or Newton may make sense on the cheap, if nothing else to provide some viable starter competition in the quarterback room if Stidham falls flat out the gate. Newton in particular has shown a high caliber in the very recent past, and if he can be added at a discount, the upside can be immense.
Estimated Percentage Chance the Patriots Sign Newton: 40%
Estimated Percentage Chance the Patriots Sign Dalton: 20%
The Jaguars unsurprisingly traded Nick Foles just one season into a four-year, $88 million contract and have former 6th Round pick Gardner Minshew II set as their starter. They added former Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden as their new offensive coordinator, who interestingly also previously served as the offensive coordinator for Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals. And don’t forget that Dalton was particularly effective under Gruden, compiling a 30-18 record, completing nearly 61% of his passes and culminating that relationship in 2013 with a career high 4,293 passing yards and career-best 33 passing touchdowns, leading the Bengals to an 11-5 record and an AFC North title.
Newton clearly isn’t a bad fit either, as we saw Minshew scramble numerous times to great effect last season. But that was last season, and it’s anyone’s guess whether Gruden will keep any part of that system going forward. We all love Minshew Mania, and I certainly hope he finds success in Jacksonville, but the Jags may be well served bringing in a veteran to push Minshew in the off season and, if nothing else, as an insurance policy if the wheels come off. Heck, right now the Jaguars have just Jake Luton (who they just selected in the 6th Round of the NFL Draft) and Joshua Dobbs backing up Minshew in the quarterback room. That being said, although it’s a small relative sample size, Minshew has a better passer rating (91.2) and interception percentage (1.3) than either veteran, so who knows how the Jaguars value them.
Estimated Percentage Chance the Jaguars Sign Newton: 20%
Estimated Percentage Chance the Jaguars Sign Dalton: 50%
The Denver Broncos appear to have their franchise quarterback in former 2nd Round pick Drew Lock. There’s certainly some upside there, particularly with all the weapons the Broncos have surrounded him with on offense this offseason and draft, buy if things go awry, they essentially have only Jeff Driskel in the wings, who is owner of an underwhelming 1-7 record as a starter.
Denver already has a solid defense on the back of second-year head coach Vic Fangio, but they have some potential to take a big step forward on offense with new offensive coordinator and former Giants head coach Pat Shurmer. Of course, all of this is contingent on Lock, which is a lot to put on a guy who has less than a full year of NFL experience, particularly with zero safety net.
Although everyone makes light of John Elway’s inability to evaluate and acquire franchise quarterbacks, one thing he clearly is good at is pursuing veteran signal callers. Heck, we just saw him go get Joe Flacco last year, and before that got Case Keenum and famously signed Peyton Manning in his twilight years. He even looked to sign Tony Romo near the end of his career and Kirk Cousins as recently as 2 years ago.
So, if Elway likes to sign veterans and the Broncos need some quarterback competition and a safety net if Lock doesn’t pan out, wouldn’t Newton and Dalton be solid options? One would think.
Estimated Percentage Chance the Broncos Sign Newton: 20%
Estimated Percentage Chance the Broncos Sign Dalton: 10%
OK, perhaps this is just wishful thinking as a long-suffering Bears fan. I know that the Bears traded away the farm to infamously move up one spot in the 2017 NFL Draft to get Mitchell Trubisky. I also know that Trubisky showed signs of life in 2018 prior to completely face-planting in 2019. I also know that the Bears traded a 4th Round pick to the Jaguars for former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles and his remaining contract, totaling $21 million guaranteed over 3 years. But then again, I also remember that Foles had just 3 total touchdowns to 2 interceptions on 4 games played with the Jaguars last season, losing all 4 of them. I appreciate that Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo previously coached Foles in Philly where he surely did his best work (including winning a Super Bowl), but I’m still a little bit nervous. Plus, the Bears decided not to pick any quarterbacks in the NFL Draft.
Would Cam Newton or Andy Dalton be a good fit? Honestly, Cam of old, being able to run the ball effectively, looks like a good fit to me. Dalton perhaps not as much, even though Lazor was Dalton’s offensive coordinator for three years in Cincy. Whether the Bears have the appetite to add another veteran to the quarterback room though is probably unlikely.
Estimated Percentage Chance the Bears Sign Newton: 20%
Estimated Percentage Chance the Bears Sign Dalton: 1%