Since the Carolina Panthers decided to part ways with star quarterback Cam Newton, he has remained afloat in the free-agent market. There hasn’t been any significant interest in Newton‘s services across the league, which each of the anticipated landing spots has taken a subtle pass on him over the last several weeks. One of those teams is the New England Patriots, as it hasn’t seen any indication that they would be interested in his services. As time has moved along, there may finally be an indication as to why the Patriots have stayed away from Newton, and it could have to do with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Cam Newton’s free agency process
It has been nearly two months since Newton was let go by the Panthers after nine seasons.
The 30-year-old is coming off another campaign cut short by injury as he suffered what turned out to be a season-ending foot ailment in Week 2 action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was the third straight year that saw him deal with a nagging injury that heavily impacted his availability.
Despite that, Newton has been readily available, but teams such as the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Chargers have each elected to go other directions. The Bears chose to acquire Nick Foles instead of him, while the Chargers snagged former Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert with their sixth overall pick.
That left the Patriots being circled as the next potential spot, but there hasn’t been any traction in that direction over the last several weeks. There may finally be clarity as to why that has come to be.
Why the Patriots passed on Cam Newton
The departure of Tom Brady this offseason has shifted things significantly for the Patriots with their focus on finding a sense of direction at the position. That immediately saw their name thrown in the mix as a possible landing spot for Newton, given the apparent need.
However, there hasn’t been any internal traction toward bringing Newton aboard to this point in the offseason. According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, a significant part of that has likely come from offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels not being too high on the former league MVP.
Some observers have made a big deal of the nice things Bill Belichick said about Newton after he beat the Patriots in two regular-season meetings. That storyline seemed to be a little overblown. Plus, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels wasn’t necessarily high on Newton when he was talking to the Panthers about their head coaching vacancy, according to a source.
That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as Newton’s playing style is much different than what the Patriots prefer in their offensive scheme. The Pro Bowl quarterback has best worked in an offense tailored to his ability to run the ball, and that conflicts with McDaniels’ game plan.
Beyond that, New England has continued to look more set on giving second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham the chance to prove himself in 2020.
Patriots want to see what Jarrett Stidham can do
Since Brady left in free agency, it has become quite apparent that the Patriots are all-in on allowing Stidham to showcase his ability.
There have been telling signs along the way with the team electing to pass on bringing a veteran quarterback that can be a reliable starter like Newton and Andy Dalton. Meanwhile, the team didn’t take a quarterback in this year’s draft, which further emphasized that it’s Stidham’s job to lose in 2020.
The Patriots are moving in a new direction with the hopes that the former Auburn product can step in to continue to lead the Patriots to success and give reason to believe he’s their next franchise quarterback.