Patriots Have A Mess At The Quarterback Position
Will the Patriots bring back Cam Newton? A month ago I would’ve said no. However, as we get closer to free agency on March 17th it might be a possibility. If the Patriots don’t spend highly on a quarterback they could bring Newton back. I asked Michael D’Abate who writes for Full Press Coverage and host of the Locked On Patriots podcast. He gives his thoughts on the quarterback situation and if Cam Newton will be back.
1. Do you think Bill Belichick spends highly on a quarterback? Or sees what is out there and if nothing works he brings back Cam Newton?
Michael D’Abate: The Patriot’s decision at quarterback is certainly the question of the offseason in New England. While much of the fan base is hoping for a big splash at the position, I do not see that happening. Whether it be Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson, the Pats simply just do not have the capital that other teams can offer. Also, the feeling around the team is that they will not look for a signal-caller in the early rounds of the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. That would seem to leave veteran options like Ryan Fitzpatrick or Jacoby Brissett (via free agency) or Marcus Mariota and Jimmy Garoppolo (via trade) as New England’s most likely options. As polarizing as the concept of bringing Cam Newton back has become, it does make sense.
Cam Newton Was Very Open On A Recent Podcast
From his comments made during his recent appearance on the I AM ATHLETE podcast, we know that Cam is open to a return to New England. He is highly respected among the coaching staff and very well-liked in the locker room. The only question mark is whether he is physically limited from playing the position at a high level. The Patriots will ultimately have the final say in answering that question. However, should they decide that Cam is healthy and determined to improve upon a subpar 2020, he might be their best option at quarterback for the upcoming season.
2. Do you think Cam Newton can draw players to the Patriots more so than say Jimmy Garoppolo because he’s a former MVP?
Players Want To Play With Cam Newton
Michael D’Abate: Having the chance to cover Cam Newton this season was a great learning experience for me. He has a magnetism to him. Players, coaches, fans, and media respond to him for one key reason: he is genuine. On that basis, he will attract a great number of players that would enjoy being his teammate. For so many players in the league, Cam has been an inspiration. Some have even grown up watching, and in some cases, idolizing him.
Combine that with the star power that he still exudes, and I do believe that Cam would be able to draw players to Foxboro. The allure of playing with Cam Newton, instead of Jimmy [Garoppolo] or Marcus [Mariota] is still a prominent selling point However, the key element that drives players (other than monetary enrichment, that is) would be the ability to win. Any free agent, or potential trade target, would have to weigh Cam’s ability to return the Pats to their winning ways…if he is their quarterback in 2021.
3. Do you see the Patriots making any big moves in free agency?
Patriots Have A Lot Of Work To Do
Michael D’Abate: The Patriots are projected to have approximately $64 million in available cap space heading into the new League year, set to begin on March 17. This is typically a team that is conservative in its spending habits. However, the sting of not only missing the playoffs but finishing with a sub-.500 record, has likely left a bad taste in the mouth of the Patriots organization.
I do expect that they will be more active and more aggressive in their pursuit of free agents this year. The ‘big move’ might not a blockbuster, but it will be a significant enough move (or possibly, a series of moves) that will move the needle in 2021. Most of the fan base is expecting that big move to be made on offense, and that is certainly possible. However, Bill Belichick knows the value of a strong defense better than anyone. I would not be surprised to see the Pat’s flagship move of the offseason to be on the defensive side of the ball.
4. Do you think Jarrett Stidham is on the roster in 2021?
Stidham Making A Return Next Season?
Michael D’Abate: I do believe that Jarrett will be on this team in 2021. Logistically, he still has two years remaining on his rookie contract, and provides great value as a back-up, at the very least. Some of the fan bases have soured on him. However, it should be noted that, like Cam Newton, Stidham also did not have the luxury of OTA, minicamp, and preseason games to fully cultivate his game. That, along with a hip injury suffered during training camp, may have been a factor in his stunted development.
He is indeed underwhelmed in his chances to make an impact this season. He completed only 50% of his passes (22 of 44) in five relief appearances; throwing two touchdowns and three interceptions. Yet, Stidham has been working out in preparation for making that impact in 2021. Perhaps he gets the chance to compete for the starting job, or perhaps not? Still, I cannot envision a scenario in which he is cut loose in 2021.
5. If Cam Newton does go back to New England do you think he will have a better season than last year?
With A Full Offseason Could Cam Newton Be Better?
Michael D’Abate: Should the Patriots decide to bring back Cam Newton for 2021, it will be because they believe he can and will be better than he was in 2020. With a (hopefully) full offseason preparation program, I believe that Cam should be better in 2021. He would have a greater amount of familiarity with the offense, as well as time to work with Josh McDaniels to develop a greater understanding of each other’s tendencies.
The team is almost certain to improve the supporting cast around him, as well. Both Belichick and McDaniels seemed to enjoy having a dual-threat quarterback, and that could continue in 2021 with Newton once again calling the signals in Foxboro. Again, the only question marks are Cam’s ability to make his reads and his physical capability of making the throws when needed. Should the Pats believe that either or both of those questions cannot be answered, I believe that the team will part ways with Cam. Otherwise, he will be back and better than he was last season.