The Chargers did consider signing Cam Newton to replace Philip Rivers during NFL free agency in March. Coach Anthony Lynn gave a perfectly good reason why they decided not to add the former Panthers and league MVP quarterback.
In a weekend interview with CBS Sports Radio, Lynn said “absolutely” the Chargers did “take a look at that” possibility with Newton, but ultimately they felt fine about the quarterbacks they had and the quarterback they could draft at No. 6 overall in April. Before they used that first-round selection on the promise of Oregon’s Justin Herbert, the team didn’t think Newton was an upgrade over its veteran options.
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“I feel really good about the quarterback room that I have,” Lynn said. “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.”
Although Newton looked like a good fit for the Chargers, Lynn was right to stick with Taylor as the bridge QB now in front of Herbert and Stick, a 2019 fifth-rounder. Taylor, who served as Rivers’ backup last season, started well for Lynn in Buffalo when the latter was the Bills’ offensive coordinator.
Newton, 31, represented a greater unknown quantity because of uncertainty about his durability and how well he could fit in Lynn’s offense. Taylor is 30 and has one more year left on a reasonable contract of $ 5 million in base salary. He provides the same mobility and strong downfield arm elements as Newton, only with deep system familiarity.
With Taylor, Herbert and Stick, the Chargers have all their QB bases covered for the present and future in making their transition from Rivers. There was no real room for Newton there.
Although Los Angeles didn’t think Newton was worth the investment, Lynn remains as confident as he is in his own QB situation that Newton will still land somewhere, now nearly two months after his release from Carolina.
“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.”