AFC East coach: Patriots still 'love' Jarrett Stidham, Cam Newton could be 'wild card'

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By 98.5 The Sports Hub Staff

The Patriots' signing of Cam Newton has many assuming that he's likely to be the starting quarterback. But another coach in the AFC East views it differently.

According to ESPN's Dianna Russini, another head coach in the Patriots' division says they still "love" second-year QB Jarrett Stidham and may keep three signal-callers on the roster - with Newton as more of a "wild card."

Newton is coming off surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury in his left foot. He also underwent shoulder surgery after the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He last played in an NFL game on Sept. 12, 2019; the Patriots' regular season opener against the Miami Dolphins is scheduled for Sept. 13.

Speaking of the Dolphins, if anyone in the AFC East would know how the Pats feel about Stidham, it would be Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. The former Patriots linebackers coach left after the 2018 season, so he never worked with Stidham directly. But his connections to New England run deep.

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 24: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers throws a pass against the New England Patriots in the second quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on August 24, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Cam Newton has the highest pedigree in the Patriots' quarterback room, but one AFC East head coach says they still "love" Jarrett Stidham. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The other possibilities are Jets head coach Adam Gase and Bills head coach Sean McDermott. But Flores is the safest bet for whoever spoke to Russini.

Stidham had previously been reported as having the inside track to the starting QB job for the Patriots. The team also brought back veteran Brian Hoyer for a third stint with the team. Newton could be described as a "wild card" due to his health situation and the fact that he's a New England outsider compared to Stidham and Hoyer.

But there's certainly no arguing that Newton brings the highest pedigree and most accomplished resume to the roster. Jeff Howe of The Athletic, however, reports that Newton wasn't guaranteed the job upon signing. Bill Belichick appears to be creating as much of a competition as possible in the QB room.

Back before the 2017 season, ESPN's Adam Schefter insisted that the Patriots "love" Jimmy Garoppolo. It's worth noting for two reasons: they could love a player and still feel he needs more time to develop, and just because they love a player right now doesn't mean they won't move on from him later.

When it comes to the coming competition between Stidham and Newton ... the real favorite should be "TBD."

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