By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The New England Patriots appear set for a 2020 quarterback battle between veteran backup Brian Hoyer and second-year pro Jarrett Stidham, but according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the team did their due diligence on free agent quarterback Cam Newton.
In what’s now the latest update on the still-unsigned 31-year-old former league MVP, Fowler noted that a league source informed him that he believed that Newton and the Patriots had discussions earlier this offseason but that ultimately “nothing materialized.”
Based on everything we’ve come to learn about Newton’s market, this all sounds about right; Newton was unable to successfully find a trade partner following the Panthers’ signing of Teddy Bridgewater, and was released by Carolina just days later.
Since then, we’ve heard that Newton could be a fit here or there, but nothing’s actually happened. It even led to Newton, who took the Panthers to the Super Bowl four years ago, softening his stance when it came to being a backup. Still, nothing.
But Newton’s Patriots fit has always been a little iffy. In addition to the Patriots already having two quarterbacks they clearly like, cap space has been an issue for New England all offseason. And even with their entire 2020 rookie class completely signed (thanks to an extension for Patrick Chung), the Patriots find themselves with just over $650,000 in available cap space. Even on the team-friendliest of team-friendly deals, taking a chance on Newton isn’t exactly the easiest signing for the Patriots. There’s also rumors that Patriots offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels made it known that he wasn’t the biggest believer in Newton when he interviewed for the Panthers’ head coaching vacancy last offseason.
On the field, it hasn’t been any easier.
After suffering a foot injury in a preseason game at Gillette Stadium last August, Newton appeared in just two games (both losses) for the 2019 Panthers before his season was finished. In those two games, Newton threw for a combined 572 yards, but failed to find the endzone through the air or on the ground, and threw one interception. Newton has actually lost eight straight starts dating back to the 2018 season, too. with his last win coming back on Nov. 4, 2018. Over that eight-game losing streak spanning two seasons, Newton’s thrown nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
The lone starter-level odd man out in what was a quarterback-heavy free agent and trade market, Newton’s new plan may include waiting until the official opening of NFL training camps, as that will allow teams to get an in-person look at him, per Fowler.