Coronavirus restrictions holding up Cam Newton, Jameis Winston markets, per report

Neither Cam Newton nor Jameis Winston has found a new NFL home since hitting the open market this offseason, and all indications are they won’t be finding one anytime soon. While a handful of teams stand out as logical landing spots for the veteran quarterbacks, it appears several factors — namely restrictions stemming from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — are holding up potential deals for the free-agent signal-callers.

ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reported Wednesday on “SportsCenter” that “there’s no real demand” for either Newton or Winston at this time. Newton, specifically, is likely to command more money than teams are willing to pay ahead of the 2020 draft, per Darlington, while travel restrictions put in place amid the pandemic have prevented other clubs from meeting with Winston in person — something they apparently want to do because of concerns about the former No. 1 overall pick’s character.

It’s not hard to suggest the travel restrictions are also affecting Newton’s market, considering only the Carolina Panthers, the team that openly sought to get something in return for Newton before releasing the QB, coordinated a physical for the 30-year-old this offseason. Newton missed all but one game of the 2019 season with a Lisfranc fracture after undergoing shoulder surgery the previous offseason.

It doesn’t help that most teams have already filled QB vacancies, and those that haven’t — like the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins or even arguably the Los Angeles Chargers — are fully expected to add a passer early in the draft. One of the few teams that doesn’t own an early first-round pick and figures to be in the market for QB help, the New England Patriots, reportedly has no interest in Newton and would be a long shot to pursue Winston, especially after two decades of careful QB play from Tom Brady.

If there’s one silver lining to Newton and Winston having dry markets at this time, it’s that both signal-callers could have a clearer understanding of their opportunities, should they arise, closer to the 2020 season. As CBS Sports NFL analyst and former QB Brady Quinn said on the “Pick Six NFL Podcast,” waiting until after the draft to consider openings — even backup roles — would give the vets far more clarity on their ceilings for this season.

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