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Newton Notions

Do you honestly think Mike Brown could resist if Newton was there at the four spot?

Here are a few interesting Bengal-related tidbits for Tuesday morning:

Today is Auburn’s highly-anticipated pro day, so the Bengals staff will be getting another up-close-and-personal look at Cam Newton, the most talked-about prospect in this year’s draft.  The Heisman Trophy winner  continues to be linked to the Bengals in various web reports, but lately speculation has him getting interest from Carolina with the first overall pick.  The latest NFP mock has the Panthers taking him, as does the Charlotte Observer’s Darin Gantt according to Hobson’s latest. Joe Reedy also has the Panthers biting on Newton at number one, with the Bengals snagging WR A.J. Green

There’s no doubt that Newton’s athleticism and charisma make him the most interesting of the top prospects, and we know how Mike Brown loves his quarterbacks.  We can see a scenario where he feels he can simply replace one Heisman quarterback for another–one with perhaps less of a pedigree but more overall talent.

As for us, we would like it very much if the Panthers take the bait. If Newton was gone before pick number four, it alleviates Mike Brown from having to choose between what’s best for his team and snagging headlines for a shiny new quarterback.  Don’t get us wrong, Newton could be the next Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, but he could likewise be another Akili Smith. No one really can know at this point, and opinions seem to differ sharply.

One thing is without doubt: If he’s still on the board when the Bengals go on the clock, we will be the ones to find out the answer because Brown will not be able to resist.  No matter how the scouting “department” may have him rated, no matter what Lewis may prefer, Brown will without hesitate write Newton’s name on the card.

If that were to happen, we would certainly welcome Newton and cheer him on.  But there are too many inherent dangers to want this scenario. 

For one thing, the Bengals would then be faced with trying to sign the kid before training camp.  The uncertainty of the new CBA aside, they don’t have a good track record with getting first rounders into camp on time, and while Palmer was signed ahead of time, he was the first overall pick.  Newton’s negotiations would probably go more the way of David Klingler and Smith, with long, drawn out negotiations.  Of course, if the new CBA includes a rookie wage scale, this point might be moot.

Another reason to avoid the Cam show is also financial.  If Palmer were to decide to “un-retire” after the team signed Newton, they’d have two extremely high-priced, franchise quarterbacks on the payroll.

Then there’s the simplest reason of all:  He’s unproven.  While Newton looked all-world for one season of Division I football, the spread option offense that Auburn ran is nothing like what Jay Gruden is installing.  We’d be remiss not to mention that Akili Smith was a one-year wonder at Oregon.  Most of the best QB’s in the business, like Manning, Brees, Ryan, Rodgers and Rivers all had multiple seasons as a starter at the collegiate level.

Newton’s performance today will go a long way towards answering these questions for the Bengals (as well as the Panthers).  With roughly  8 weeks until draft day, there will be plenty of time for teams to back away or fall in love with the signal caller.

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