After their free agency spending spree, there’s one piece left in the Patriots’ puzzle – quarterback. While the team did re-sign Cam Newton earlier this month, there’s doubt as to whether or not he’s a viable, long-term option.
Appearing on ESPN’s ‘Get Up!’ Thursday morning, NFL insider Dianna Russini was asked about how Newton fits into New England’s big picture plans. “That is not the sense I’m getting around league circles, that Cam Newton is the guy that the New England Patriots are building this offense around,” she said.
Russini referenced a point many have made who believe the Patriots are still not done adding at quarterback. “His contract tells you how they feel about him,” she mentioned. “They don’t think he’s the future of the New England Patriots.”
It’s a fair point. Even the most die-hard Cam Newton defender has to admit he’s on a one-year contract with very little guaranteed money, and will be 32-years-old by the time next season rolls around. Even if he performs relatively well this season, it’s hard to picture him as a long-term option, in terms of a five-year projection.
So why is Newton back in New England if he’s not the definitive starter? According to Russini, it all goes back to Bill Belichick.
“Does the relationship work? Yes. Cam Newton’s become a different person since he’s come to New England,” she points out. “He’s always competitive, he always works hard, we know this about him, it’s what makes him fantastic and makes him a great player. But his personality has really changed since he’s been in New England.”
“This is a guy who has been an elite quarterback and is no longer elite, and I think he’s done a really good job of playing the game with Bill Belichick,” she continued. “We hear nothing but great compliments. It seems like it just works.”
Eventually though, the Patriots will need a quarterback under center for Week 1 of 2021, and going forward. Will that be Newton? According to Russini, that’s up to him.
“But in terms of playing – because that’s what this is going to come down to at the end of the day, everyone can like each other and get along and [sing] ‘Kumbaya’ – but he’s got to go out there and perform.”