What’s next for Newton?

What’s next for Newton?
September 09
10:41 2021

Cam Newton was released by the New England Patriots last week and is now on the open market for any team to sign. At 32 years of age, Newton looks to still have something left in the tank and can possibly still be a starter in the league.

It was kind of a strange move for the Patriots to get rid of Newton and go with Mac Jones, because all signs were pointing to Newton being the starting quarterback for the season opener. Jones had an impressive preseason, but he is still a rookie.

Newton started every preseason game, but did not play much. He was 14-21 for 162 yards, with one touchdown and one interception during the preseason. I assumed the coaching staff was giving the bulk of the work to Jones to get him acclimated to the speed of the NFL, while also not putting Newton in harm’s way, because he has been prone to injury due to the aggressive way he plays the game.

Patriot head coach Bill Belichick had repeatedly stated that Newton was going to be his starting quarterback. I think what changed his mind was the stellar play by Jones during those preseason games, along with the vaccination status of Newton. Newton has not taken the vaccine and missed several practices due to a COVID-19 protocol mishap.  

After being released, Newton posted on his Instagram account, “I really appreciate all the love and support during this time, but I must say … please don’t feel sorry for me. I’m good.”

Several players have weighed in on the subject in the last few days. Julian Edelman, former Patriot player and current analyst for “Inside the NFL,” has seen many players come and go during his time in New England. I’m sure he knows the ways of Belichick almost better than anyone else outside of Tom Brady.

“Nothing surprises me with Bill,” said Edelman. Just look at the history. Logan Mankins was let go. Lawyer Milloy, [Richard] Seymore. I think the kid came out and did very well. You could see in his eyes, see in his reads, that he felt very comfortable in the pocket. He was looking at the right areas. He ran the no-huddle well.

“I don’t think he beat [Newton] out, but the ceiling is so high and after spending the 15th overall pick on him, they’re going to go with him. It didn’t surprise me.”

Edelman also weighed in on why the Patriots chose to release Newton instead of keeping him as the backup quarterback. There were several theories floating around as to why Newton was given his release and Edelman has a take on the issue that I hadn’t thought of, but I feel is most likely the correct one.

“I feel bad for him with that whole situation,” he said of Newton. “I don’t think they wanted a distraction and wanted to give him a chance to go out and get on another team. But it’s not a very surprising act by the Patriots.”

Indeed, Newton’s name still carries a lot of weight with fans, so I understand not wanting to have that type of pressure placed on your rookie quarterback. When you think about it, the Patriots had to make this move. I have heard that Newton was very popular in the locker room, so for this team to truly be Jones’, Newton could not be there.

Now the question is, where does a 32-year-old former MVP quarterback who still wants to start in the league end up? That is a tough question. As I looked at all 32 teams, I could not pinpoint a perfect landing spot for Newton. Literally every team I could think of had its drawbacks, mostly because of how successful Newton was in the past, or maybe because of how big his personality is. Who knows?

What I do know is that Newton is going to have to probably wait until the season starts before he finds another home in the league. My hope is that he in fact does find a team to play with, because I would hate to see his career end this way.

With such a unique skillset, Newton is already one of the best mobile quarterbacks to ever play the game. At 6’5” and 245 lbs., tackling Newton is more like tackling a tight end rather than a quarterback.

At this point in his career, Newton is going to have to accept a backup quarterback position if he wants to get picked up, in my opinion. I know it had to be a knock to his ego that no teams were willing to bring him in prior to the season starting, but if he goes on record to let teams know he will take a backup role, I’m sure some team will take a chance on him.  

I don’t think Newton’s days of starting are over. He still has some good football left in him. I know he has suffered some severe injuries throughout his career, but if he can get back anywhere close to where he was in 2015, he would be worth the gamble and rather inexpensive to boot.

There have been several mobile quarterbacks that have modified their games as their athletic ability left them. I think Newton can do the same. I am hopeful he will get another opportunity this season; let’s just hope it’s with the right team that allows him to be himself.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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