The amount of hype that came out of the New England Patriots social media team yesterday when they officially announced The CamNewton signing, looks to me like some sort of indication that the Patriots have big plans for Newton this season.
For the first time in 20 years, the New England Patriots are heading into a season that doesn’t have Tom Brady in the quarterback room, and the addition of Newton has taken all the wind out of the Jarrett Stidham sail that was steadily building throughout most of this offseason. The Patriots may still see Stidham as a future prospect, but for now it only makes sense that the Patriots move forward with Cam Newton, assuming that he’s healthy.
There is still some debate amongst experts and fans about whether or not Newton will be the starting quarterback week one, or whether it will take him more time to acclimatize himself to the Patriots team and the Patriots Way. Some so-called experts have even gone as far as saying they believe Cam Newton could be cut before week one, that is a scenario that I do not see happening, but I guess it’s fair to ask, could Cam Newton be backing up Jarrett Stidham at the start of the season?
Thomas Casals of The Score broke it down for us:
“Most people believe Newton will emerge as the starter in New England, and the odds reflect that. The biggest issue with Newton is health. Before he suffered a shoulder injury in 2018, Newton's passer grade from PFF was 86.4 - seventh-best in the NFL. Newton's play has declined since the injury, however, and he's 0-8 in his last eight games as a starter. He certainly looks healthy and motivated based on recent social media posts, which is good news for the Patriots:”
“Unless something catastrophic happens, Brian Hoyer and Brian Lewerke aren't serious contenders to start in New England. That leaves second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham as Newton's only real threat. How serious a threat is he? That depends on who you ask. At least one coach in the AFC East apparently isn't buying the Newton hype:”
Prior to the Cam Newton signing, there were a lot of reports that the Patriots were high on Stidham, and after free agency and the draft came and went, it seemed that the more we examined it, the more it seemed like Belichick was comfortable going forward with Jarrett Stidham, but, Thomas continued:
“That could be a bunch of nonsense, but Stidham definitely has a couple of things going for him. The 23-year-old was sensational during last year's preseason, connecting on 67% of his passes. He's now entering his second offseason in Josh McDaniels' offensive system after spending a year learning behind arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history.”
At the end of the day anything is possible, and I can foresee a scenario that Stidham starts over Newton, but I need to make it clear, I see that as the least likely of scenarios right now. Jarrett Stidham could very well be the future of the Patriots, or he could be a placeholder until the Patriots find their actual quarterback of the future. I have held off on judgement until I actually see him play meaningful time in the NFL, and if I were going to make my best guess, we aren’t going to see that this season, this by all indications seems set up to be the year of Cam Newton.