NFL

Cam Newton’s 2020 Struggles Have Created His Worst NFL Season, by Far

It appeared the New England Patriots may have struck gold when they signed veteran quarterback Cam Newton this offseason.

Things haven’t worked out that way at all. Newton tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this season and hasn’t looked like his game-changing, former MVP self. 

The New England Patriots are on pace to miss the postseason for the first time since 2008, and Newton — and his career-worst campaign — is a major reason why.

The New England Patriots are having a season to forget

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Tom Brady made the right decision ditching the New England Patriots when he did.

New England is 2-5 and on a four-game losing streak, numbers that are foreign territory to this generation of Patriots fans. With veteran receiver Julian Edelman currently on injured reserve, there aren’t many active Patriots left from the recent glory days.

The Buffalo Bills are in a prime position to win the AFC East Division. With rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa now in the lineup, the 5-3 Miami Dolphins are in great shape to reach the postseason for the first time since 2016.

New England might need a miracle even to finish the season with a .500 record.

This is Cam Newton’s worst NFL season

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If Cam Newton could go back and change history, he might want to wish the 2020 season never happened.

Newton is not entirely responsible for the Patriots’ issues, especially with how injuries and a lack of salary cap space have depleted the team’s receiving depth.

At the same time, Newton has thrown seven interceptions to two touchdowns in six games. Although Newton is completing 66% of his passes on 7.3 yards per attempt, the poor ball control has stood out above all else.

Newton ended Week 8 having thrown interceptions on 4.5% of his passes. He has only finished a season having thrown interceptions on at least 3% of his passes twice in his career — a 3.3% mark as a rookie in 2011 and again in 2017.

Newton also missed time following a positive COVID-19 test. The veteran quarterback was asymptomatic and only sat out one game.

How will this year impact Cam Newton’s 2021 job hopes?

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Before the season opened, Cam Newton had a chance to make a ton of money with the New England Patriots and, possibly, even play his way into a long-term extension.

Now, it doesn’t seem guaranteed that Newton will even finish this season as the starter. Bill Belichick can continue publicly defending Newton, but both sides know that they can only trot out an inefficient quarterback so many times.

At this point, Newton is likely looking at a backup role in 2021. Barring a sudden and impressive turnaround in the next two months, it would be shocking to see Newton sign with a team that brought him in to be the Day 1 starter.

How Alex Smith plays down the stretch could determine if Washington head coach Ron Rivera wanted to reunite with Newton. Rivera coached Newton in Carolina from 2011 through Newton’s injury last year.

Cam Newton has a few weeks left to prove his value for next year. It all starts in Week 9 against the helpless and winless Jets on Monday Night Football.

All stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.