Cam Newton a Bear? Yeah, no

The questions surrounding the former MVP combined with the current world situation make it an impossible gamble for many teams to take

Good morning, frents …

How we feeling out there? Everyone good? We got this.

Thank you to everyone who forwarded and shared yesterday’s Minute. Definitely got the nice bump that I was looking for.

In a different time and place …

Cam Newton was released by the Panthers on Tuesday, which meant the Chicago media had to go through a round of “should the Bears have taken a chance?”

Part of it was due to the fact that the team’s quarterbacking has been poor for so long that we have to imagine any possibility wearing orange and blue. The other part was that NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted the Panthers had tried to trade Newton to both the Chargers and Bears, but got no interest.

The Bears, however, did trade a fourth-round pick for Nick Foles last week, which set up the type of binary choice that modern day media thrives on.

Yet no one was having much of it as they went through their obligations.

And that’s because trading or signing for Cam Newton in the year 2020 is a terrible idea to anyone but the 500-some people who liked this tweet from Michael David Smith.

Now maybe Newton ends up proving everyone wrong wherever he winds up. It could happen. If you wanted to sell yourself on the idea, you’d start with his age (30), move on to his 2015 MVP season and then finish with the hope he’d bring that sizable chip on his shoulder along to his new address.

But even on the small chance that Newton does turn it around, it doesn’t mean the Bears — or any of the other teams that pass on him — will have made a bad decision in the here and now.

Signing Newton this offseason means overlooking several issues and committing resources to a quarterback who …

… missed all but two games in 2019 after a Lisfranc injury in his foot.

… had shoulder surgery in March 2017 and again in January 2019.

… has run the ball 934 times in his career, a total just behind Devonta Freeman (951) and just ahead of Jamaal Charles (920) on the list of carries last decade.

… hasn’t put up numbers over the past four seasons that surpass Mitchell Trubisky’s performance in the same time frame. (NBC Sports’ JJ Stankevitz laid out the comparison here).

… was coached by Ron Rivera his entire career. Yes, the same guy who just decided he’d rather trade a fifth-round pick for Newton’s backup Kyle Allen. Yes, the same guy who led the Panthers to a 5-11 record in 2019, a mess that ended with Rivera being forced to change zip codes.

Look at all those issues and then throw in the current world realities facing the NFL. Teams probably won’t have any OTAs this spring. The length of training camps  could be curtailed. Getting any free agent signings in for a physical in front of team doctors is an impossibility right now so any guess on Newton’s physical condition is only that.

Considering all of that, the Bears are supposed to bring stability to the Trubisky situation with another question mark who might not step foot into their QB room until mid-summer?


Look, while I haven’t been as sold as others on Foles being the calming presence this team needs, it’s not hard to see why the Bears would go with him instead of Newton.

If you’re going to gamble on a guy with question marks these days, you go with the guy who is familiar to half of the coaching staff and puts them at ease long before he’s able to  show up to Halas Hall.

You do not go with the guy who would create just as many questions — albeit different ones — as the quarterback he’s being called in to possibly replace.

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Tonight’s schedule

• Knicks at Bulls, Game 2 1996 Eastern Conference semis (NBC Sports, 7 pm)
• Phillies at Cubs, 9/21/97 (Ryno’s last game) (Marquee, 7 pm)

The NHL GMs held a conference call on Tuesday. According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the two big takeaways for Hawks fans are that teams and players will remain in self-quarantine until April 6 at the earliest (not a big surprise) and that teams are being asked for their building availabilities through the end of August (gulp).

Take aside the ice issues that are sure to spring up in most places, how is the NHL possibly going to end one season in August and start another in early October? At some point, I think the league will have to be realistic about what it’s facing here.

Have a link for Midway Minute? Email me!

• NFL GMs are apparently in favor of pushing back the draft, but the league wants it to go on as scheduled April 23-25. (ESPN)

• The Illini basketball team lost some of its depth as sophomore Alan Griffin announced he was entering the transfer portal. Griffin averaged 8.9 points last season and led the team from behind the 3-point line. (Herald & Review)

Phil Thompson on how Chicago’s sports bars are struggling to survive. (Tribune)

Stacy St. Clair on how Chicago-area Olympic hopefuls are coping with the postponement of Tokyo 2020. (Tribune)

• Coronavirus may have finally met its match: Malort hand sanitizer. (Eater Chicago)

Steve Stone tells the story of how a drunk Harry Caray once had a gun pulled on him, only to get out of the situation rather easily. (670 The Score)

• Thanks to #frentofthenewsletter Andrew Gretchko for inviting me to do a Q&A about my career, time at Wisconsin and, of course, starting up Midway Minute (Vivid Seats)

• I would seriously buy a Where’s Lovie book.

That’s it for today. Thank you for being a #frentofthenewsletter.

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