5. Cam Newton
Newton rounds out the list of frustrating quarterbacks because like Griffin and Kaepernick, he’s a physical specimen playing the quarterback position, but not playing up to his potential. The major reason why he’s behind those two on this list is because he’s playing behind a horrible offensive line, lacking a running game to lean on, and is left with a rookie as his No. 1 wide receiver.
Newton has been an exciting player to watch, but it’s hard not to point out that he hasn’t played at an elite level in his career yet. Newton’s best season came last year, when he threw for 3,379 yards and 24 touchdowns, while rushing for another 585 yards and six scores and leading Carolina to a 12-4 mark, an NFC South crown and the playoffs. But in three of his four years at the helm, the Panthers are below .500 while Newton has posted truly mediocre numbers.
If we’re going to play the blame game, you can certainly point out Newton has excelled with a great cast around him. Last year, he had one of the NFL’s top defenses in his back pocket while playing behind a solid offensive line and Steve Smith as his go-to wide receiver. This year, that offensive line is down three starters, Kelvin Benjamin is his No. 1 receiver, and the rushing attack ranks 21st in the league.
Newton isn’t frustrating because he doesn’t play up to his talent level; it’s because he hasn’t progressed into where he should be in his fourth season as a pro. Tom Brady is the perfect example of a player that has lacked weapons around him but still lifted his team to greatness. As Newton’s team has lost pieces, he’s failed to take his game up a notch.