The Los Angeles Chargers and Philip Rivers parted this offseason, and there has been a strange aura surrounding the media on the decision to not bring in a starting QB via free agency.
Head coach Anthony Lynn decided to avoid signing names such as Jameis Winston, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton (may have not been available at the time), or even Joe Flacco, all highly viable options. Lynn has made it clear that prior backup Tyrod Taylor is the favorite to win the starting job come fall, and there seems to be no wavering on that statement currently.
The Chargers selected former standout Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and they are now officially taking steps on building a franchise following both the Drew Brees and Rivers eras.
Lynn expressed his views on Newton and why the Chargers elected to go with a draft prospect instead of the former MVP in a recent interview with Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio:
“Absolutely, Cam is a tremendous quarterback,” said Lynn. “He’s been MVP of this league, he’s led his team to the Super Bowl and he’s healthy now from what I hear. Cam is going to be on somebody’s roster and he’s going to help somebody win a few games, but yeah, we did take a look at that, sure.”
While that is a commending statement on Newton, Lynn said he was already confident in the quarterbacks he currently has on his roster.
“I feel really good about the quarterback room that I have,” said Lynn. “With Tyrod Taylor, Easton Stick … those are guys that a lot of people don’t talk about, but he was a Division I AA … he won like three national championships. He’s a hell of a leader, hell of a professional and I think he has a bright future in this league one day.”
Taylor, who earned the starter jobs in both Buffalo and Cleveland, will turn 31 this offseason, which provoked the Chargers to draft Herbert to be the future of the franchise. Herbert has all the athleticism and intangibles you want at the NFL level and was highly regarded as one of the best QBs in this draft class. In his senior season at Oregon, Herbert threw for 3,471 yards and a career-high 32 touchdowns.
Los Angeles’ QB room may be fully occupied for the time being, so Newton is still searching for a new NFL home (in May, believe it or not). Newton, who just turned 31, is the Carolina Panthers’ all-time leading passer – having thrown for 29,041 yards and 182 touchdowns over nine seasons in the league. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, has made the Pro Bowl three times, was named league MVP in 2015 and led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 in the same year. After injuries plagued the end of his 2018 season and all of the 2019 season, Carolina elected to move on from Newton while bringing in Teddy Bridgewater to accompany a new coaching regime.
While the Chargers didn’t sign Newton, Lynn is confident that he will land on his feet somewhere in 2020. If Newton didn’t have a chip on his shoulder before, he certainly does now. It’ll be exciting to see where he lands over the next few months.