The New England Patriots have made an effort to improve their offense by signing several key playmakers, but many wonder if those additions will matter with Cam Newton returning as the team’s starting quarterback. Of course, it is possible that Newton is not returning as the team’s starting quarterback.
ESPN’s Dianna Russini said on “Get Up!” Thursday morning that she has spoken with people who do not believe the Patriots are set on Newton as their starter. She said there is a sense around NFL circles that Newton is not Plan A for Bill Belichick.
“His contract tells you how they feel about him,” Russini said, via 98.5 The Sports Hub. “They don’t think he’s the future of the New England Patriots.”
Russini added that Belichick greatly respects Newton and that the former MVP has impressed the team with his work ethic. However, Newton did nothing in 2020 to prove he is still capable of playing at a high level. Russini added:
“This is a guy who has been an elite quarterback and is no longer elite, and I think he’s done a really good job of playing the game with Bill Belichick. We hear nothing but great compliments. It seems like it just works.
“But in terms of playing — because that’s what this is going to come down to at the end of the day, everyone can like each other and get along and [sing] ‘Kumbaya,’ but he’s got to go out there and perform.”
Newton had trouble finding a starting job last offseason, which is why he signed with the Patriots so late. He then went out and had 2,657 passing yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. It would stand to reason that no teams would have been interested in Newton as a starter heading into 2021, which is probably why he re-signed with New England so quickly.
The way Newton reacted to all of the Patriots’ free-agent signings makes it seem like he believes he’s the team’s starter, but he’ll almost certainly have to compete for the job. If New England swings a big trade or drafts a quarterback early, the odds will be stacked against him.