By Kartik Mathur
Cam Newton ( Signed - Patriots )
The first overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft is an exceptional dual-threat playmaker who practically remodeled the read-option attack plays. His 2,571 rushing yards are the most by a quarterback in his first four NFL seasons ( Micheal Vick at number 2 ). He's a threat to tuck it and run at any time, especially in short-yardage and goal-line situations. One can say that Llamar Jackson is the current Cam Newton in the league.
As a passer, he's been roundly criticized for his lack of accuracy and inconsistent ball placement. The last time he played properly was in 2018, where he played 14 games. He thew 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His accuracy wasn't great as he had a 31.7% deep ball completion rate. However, he is known for his ability of avoiding sacks and rolling out of the pocket. He was actually the best at this in 2018, with a 75.7% play action completion rate ( ranked number 1 ). He was also ranked number 5 in completing passes under pressure.
He was ranked average in practically everything else, which includes his passer rating, completion percentage, passing yards and accuracy rating. Yet still he was one of the top quarterbacks in the league. It was his potential of becoming better which kept him alive. He was already amazing at avoiding pressure, play action passes and of course his scrambling and rushing, but his accuracy was the major issue... along with his injuries.
He is not at his prime right now, but still is better than numerous other starting quarterbacks.
Numerous NFL analysts predict that Newton will sign with the Patriots. The Patriots DON'T have an amazing quarterback right now. They have 2 or 3 of them but none with experience, and none who have showed something worthy before. Patriots have been mainly about passing with Brady in the past. They have Sony Michelle but he's not exactly the elite runningback who can carry the team. Cam Newton has the ability to run, and throw as well. Cam should sign a short 'prove-it' deal with the Patriots and perhaps get a starting role as well. Newton playing on the Patriots will be different for both him and the Patriots, but will be interesting to see what he brings to Bill Belichick and his team. The Patriots have barely been in contact though. Ron Rivera however has shown a bit of interest. Newton's season ending neck injury, could possibly be his career ending injury.
Everson Griffen has been one of the better, more consistent edge rushers in the league. The Vikings finally parted ways with him, after 10 whole years. This veteran still remains unsigned which is surprising as he is one of the best edge rushers still available on the market.
Griffen has 48 tackles in 2019 proving he still is capable and is an aggressive defensive end. He had a decent 8 sacks in 2019. He is 32 years old now, but still has a lot in him and could possible surprise everyone next season. He's still efficient as he racked up 35 quarterback pressures, one of the best in the league. He also had 25 quarterback hits. He's pretty much underrated in the league, and yes there are other edge rushers who do produce MORE sacks but are actually not as productive as Griffen. For example Yannick Ngakoue has 15 quarterback hits and 27 pressures, both LESS THAN GRIFFEN. He tied griffen with 8 sacks. Yet Yannick wants more than $20 million per year VS Griffen who will settle for less than half of that. Of course Yannick is still young and has a long way ahead and scope for becoming better, but is literally not as good as Griffen right now.
Everson Griffen could sign with the Browns maybe. He would make a fantastic pair Miles Garrett. The Browns do have almost $30 million in cap space. The Browns could release Olivier Vernon who has a terrible $15.5 million cap hit and wasn't productive in 2019 and replace him with Everson Griffen. They chased Clowney around for a while but Clowney declined the Browns offer. Griffen could possibly sign with the Seahawks who are still keeping the door open for Jadeveon Clowney right now. The Seahawks ranked towards the end of the league in sacks in 2019. They haven't signed superstars in that position, but have signed and drafted numerous other players who will play a rotational role in the edge rusher position.
Overall, Everson Griffen still has a lot of potential and could even have a better year in 2020. He's available at a cheap price while also being productive. After Clowney, Everson Griffen is the next best edge rusher available and then Markus Golden. There are numerous teams who need Griffen and can afford him, but the 32 year old veteran would have to wait a long time till he finds a home.
Larry Warford's past 3 seasons with the Saints have been terrific and in all 3 seasons he was selected for the Pro Bowl. He is definitely the best guard available on the market and the best thing? He's just 29 so he could possibly be at his peak for the 2020 season.
He was an excellent run blocker for Alvin Kamara in 2019. Warford had a solid 76.6 run block grade last season which was 7th out of 87 qualified guards. He was also charged with only 4 penalties out of his 970 snaps in 2019 proving to be a polished run blocker. He opened up a number of opportunities for the running back while weighing a heavy 150 kgs. That's actually the same weight as a full grown panda. That's how big he is. While he had an efficient run blocking season in 2019, he pass blocking was a major issue.
Even though Warford allowed only 4 sacks which seems pretty good, he had his problems. He allowed a terrible 32 pressures forcing Drew Brees to repeatedly roll out of the pocket. He also repeatedly lost 1 on 1 battles against defensive tackles and other more athletic defensive linemean. He also struggled to get outside to the right spot in a timely manner on screen passes, an enormous part of the Saints offense.The Saints had to release him for his poor pass blocking game as well for his $12.875 million cap hit. The Saints Drafted Michigan center Cesar Ruiz as a replacement who was both athletic and versatile.
It is surprising however, Warford still being a free agent. Yes he wasn't good at pass blocking in 2019 but there are teams who could still sign him and boost up their offensive line dramatically. One team being the Baltimore Ravens who were rated with one of the worst offensive line for 2019. Knowing Llamar Jackson's running abilities, paired with Mark Ingram and newly added J.K Dobbins, the Ravens have a solid run game planned for the 2020 season. The Ravens do have Marshal Yanda who was rated the best guard for the 2019 season, but adding Warford would immediately improve the offensive line and would surely create more opportunities for the Ravens rushing game. Warford might not get the money he wants, but would definitely sign with a team before the new season starts.