The 2020 NFL season has been difficult for Cam Newton. He and the New England Patriots were expecting big things when they signed him. Newton didn’t live up to those expectations, having a mediocre season. The Patriots finished 8-8, were eliminated from the playoffs, and have some big questions about their roster this offseason.
Newton’s future with the team is one of those questions. He will test the free-agent waters, or the Patriots could bring him back for the 2021 season. It is unknown what Newton or New Englands’ plans are and if they involve each other. However, Newton did send a message to any team interested in his services about where he believes he should be on the quarterback depth chart.
Cam Newton had a lackluster season with the Patriots
The year in New England didn’t go as planned for Cam Newton. He never seemed to find his rhythm passing the ball and didn’t have the necessary weapons at his disposal. For the season, Newton threw for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns, and 10 interceptions per ESPN. His yards and touchdown output this season is the lowest of his career, outside of 2019, where he only played two games.
Newton’s mechanics seemed off all season. He failed to throw consistently, having some balls thrown into the dirt or over receivers’ heads. Even though he was awful throwing the ball, he showed he can still run the ball effectively. Newton ran for 592 yards and twelve touchdowns this year, finishing as the Patriots’ second-leading rusher. Many questions were surrounding Cam Newton’s health coming into this season, and he answered those questions every week.
Newton played in 15 of 16 games this season. He missed one game because he tested positive for the coronavirus. It seems like that is where the season changed for Newton. He never looked like his true self after recovering from COVID-19, and he admitted that as the season progressed. He continued to play through all the ailments he was dealing with, showing that he can be a durable quarterback in the NFL.
Newton’s future with the NFL and the Patriots is anything but certain. He knows that his season hasn’t gone the way he hoped, but that doesn’t mean he’ll accept any kind of quarterback job next season.
Cam Newton isn’t sure he’ll accept a backup role
Despite the season he had, Cam Newton still believes he has the capabilities to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He realizes that this year was far from his best, but he isn’t ready to say he’ll accept a backup role should the situation arise.
“Honestly, it’s too early to tell. That’s as honest as I can be…If you are asking me, Do I want to be a backup? Hell no! Do I have the right to say that with the year I had this year? No. But I’m going to be honest and say it because that’s what I do,” said Newton per ESPN.
He knows he has the ability and skill to be a starter. Now it is about fixing his mechanics and getting his mind right for next year. “I just really need some time for myself to really reevaluate this whole situation. Do I think I have starting talent? Absolutely. I have to obviously work on my mechanics. I have to obviously throw the football sooner rather than the latter part of last year. Those things, I’m going to be focused on as we get geared up for offseason,” Newton said.
Potential landing spots for Cam Newton next season
Finding a home for Cam Newton in 2021 might be a challenge. His 2020 wasn’t impressive, and many teams have a plan to get their franchise quarterback or build around them if they already have one. Very few teams are without an answer at quarterback, which could make it difficult for Newton to find a new place to play.
If Bill Belichick is open to it, Newton wants to, and the Patriots give him an offer, he could return for a second season in New England. The Patriots made it easy for them to move on from Newton, only signing him to a one year contract. However, Jared Stidham hasn’t shown much promise at being the quarterback of the future. They will have a good first-round pick, so they could draft a quarterback.
There is a very short list of teams outside of New England with a big question mark at quarterback. Even with that short list of teams, none of them seem to fit into Newton’s skill set or championship aspirations. With the talent and demand for quarterbacks not looking strong for the 2021 free-agent class, the Patriots and Newton might realize they need each other more than they thought.
Cam Newton has a big offseason in front of him. He has the power to determine where he plays next season, and a few teams might call with interest. Those teams should know before they call that being a backup is not something Newton is looking for at this point in his career. He believes he is a starter and wants that opportunity for his next NFL team.
All stats courtesy of ESPN