It’s not too often you see a former number 1 draft pick sitting in NFL free Agency, but somehow in 2020, there are three of them.
Former number 1 pick, (2010) Sam Bradford earned 129 Mil over his underwhelming career without a single Pro Bowl, winning record, or playoff appearance and somehow even he made it to FOUR different NFL teams.
Meanwhile, Cam Newton has had an MVP (2015) to his name and made it to Super Bowl 50 during the same season, which ended up in a loss to Von Miller’s Denver Broncos or more notably, Peyton’s last stand.
Jameis Winston entered the 30 for 30 club by becoming the first QB in NFL history to throw for 5000 yards, 30 TD, and 30 INTs. Yet, the former Seminole and National Champion is projected to be a backup QB in 2020.
And then there’s Jadaveon Clowney. Clowney underwhelmed and was injury riddled during the first 3 seasons of his career, but the number 1 pick in 2014 has shined as of late. The former Gamecock has had 9.0 sacks or more in the last 2 out of 3 seasons, but was traded to Seattle where he racked up just 3.0 QB takedowns in his short 2019 stint.
Seattle decided not to resign Clowney, who is reportedly looking for a 20Mil/year contract.
It is also reported that the 3x Pro Bowler turned down a 17 mil/year from the Miami Dolphins.
It is highly doubtful that Clowney, Winston, or Newton will earn top-end contracts, but let’s predict where the three former number 1’s could land.
Cam Newton- Los Angeles Chargers, Washington Redskins
Cam is currently working out for the Chargers and if the former MVP can push past his Lisfranc Fracture in 2019, this should be the best fit for him. His only competition is Tyrod Taylor and Newton certainly has the weapons around him to succeed. Austin Ekeler made a name for himself last season by racking up 1500+ yards, 11 TDS in 2019 and earned himself a 4 yr/25.4 Mil contract. Keenan Allen is a reception machine and can fit with any QB. If Hunter Henry can finally stay healthy, the Chargers and Cam’s mobility could become a problem for opposing defenses.
Cam could also decide to reunite with his former coach, Ron Rivera in Washington. Dwayne Haskins doesn’t look like “the guy” moving forward and Newton knows the offense. The Redskins also traded for Kyle Allen, Cam’s 2019 successor, so there could be another Carolina reunion in the works.
Jameis Winston- New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints
Bruce Arians and the Bucs were chomping at the bit to land Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. So much that Arians, indirectly said the team would’ve been a lot more successful in 2019, if Winston didn’t lead the charge.
Winston has all the tools with underrated mobility. The problem is he forces balls into traffic, doesn’t look off receivers and at times holds the ball entirely too long. He’s a gunslinger and will make a game fun, but needs coaching from a higher authority. Insert: Bill Belichick. Belichick has had success for almost every QB that he’s ever coached. Maybe he becomes the Yoda to Jameis’ Luke Skywalker type mindset? After all, how many 5,000 yard passers do you find in Free Agency?
The Saints could be a reach here, but again.. coaching! Drew Brees is heading down the long and winding road and the conclusion of his Hall of Fame NFL career. What QB system is more friendlier than Sean Payton’s and will allow a player to sit behind Drew Brees for a year or two?
Yes, there’s the “Swiss Army Knife” Taysom Hill, but after Teddy Bridgewater locked on with Carolina, could Winston decide to make the same move within the division?
Jadaveon Clowney- Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns
Best fit? Stay in Seattle and make a deal work. The Seahawks have expressed some interest in bringing Clowney back, but the two sides couldn’t agree to terms. Realistically, who wouldn’t want to play for Pete Carroll and a QB like Russell Wilson, a guy that always gives his team a shot to make a postseason run. A resigning could be the best for both parties.
Myles Garrett and Jadaveon Clowney (both number one picks!) would give the browns a scary set of tandem bookend pass rushers and lets face it, Lamar Jackson needs all the pressure he can get if Cleveland is serious about competing in the AFC North.