NESN Diary: What Cam Newton’s Presence Means For Jarrett Stidham’s Future (And Other Random Thoughts)


Jun 30, 2020

Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, will publish a diary full of random thoughts, opinions, takeaways, and other cool tidbits we’ve stumbled across in the absence of actual games. Because why not? We’re all in this together.

After spending two months believing the New England Patriots were actually going to ride with a quarterback room of Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer, news broke Sunday to illustrate that wouldn’t be the case.

The reported signing of Newton has been followed up by reports indicating it has nothing to do with the performance of Stidham, who enters his second season. I do, however, believe it relates to the Patriots’ confidence — both short term and long term — in Stidham, but it’s important to differentiate the two entities.

The signing of Newton does indicate something about Stidham’s current position. The Patriots simply are saying they’re interested in the potential upside brought on by the 2015 NFL MVP, and that a 2019 fourth-rounder should not just be handed the starting job because he’s there.

Who could blame them? Especially considering the team-friendly, incentive-laden deal Newton reportedly signed.

The strange offseason may have aided that decision by head coach Bill Belichick. After all, Stidham had been impacted by an unprecedented offseason, to no fault of his own. But the fact is he may not be able to make the full second-year leap others have in the past because the opportunities were not been there during the virtual offseason. If Newton enters the offseason competition healthy, Stidham shouldn’t feel slighted if he loses the position battle to a bigger, stronger and more experienced quarterback. If healthy, Newton is a top 10 QB in the NFL.

Where I draw the line, however, is in regards to this signing meaning the Patriots aren’t confident in Stidham long term. I don’t believe this deal means that is the case.

More: Rob Parker Rants About Why Bill Belichick, Tom Brady Shouldn’t Be In Hall Of Fame

Newton’s one-year contract means the Patriots can wipe their hands of him after 2020. They have no long-term ties to Newton, specifically regarding guaranteed money. This decision was not the same as going out and signing a quarterback (i.e. Teddy Bridgewater) to a long-term deal, or using a high-end draft pick on a player at the position (i.e. Jordan Love). Those would show less confidence in Stidham’s future.

Essentially, what the Patriots are doing is making their quarterback room better in 2020, still giving Stidham a chance to compete for the job, while also keeping the door open that it will be his down the road. Worst case scenario is Stidham watches Newton during the 2020 season, and that’s not a bad case at all. It gives him another year to develop in the Patriots’ system.

And if the Patriots get the most out of Newton and he revitalizes his career, well they got great quarterback play in 2020 while not making a major financial commitment. It also would likely mean Newton lands a big contract elsewhere in free agency, and guess who’s still in New England with two years left on a rookie contract to make his case why he should be the next franchise quarterback?

Anyway, here are some other random thoughts from Tuesday:

— Julian Edelman had quite the day on Instagram.

The Patriots receiver posted a welcome message for the organization’s new quarterback, and it garnered some responses. Among them, Tom Brady made an eye-opening comment (jealous much?) while Newton shared a simple response of his own.

— Antonio Brown rumors heated back up Tuesday, and it was Brady’s new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were involved.

It took place as former NFL executive and league insider Mike Lombardi hinted at the possible reunion during an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.” However, ESPN’s Dianna Russini debunked that thought while reporting the Buccaneers are “not interested” in Brown.

— The Pawtucket Red Sox were dealt a tough blow Tuesday as Minor League Baseball released a statement noting the 2020 season has been cancelled due to COVID-19.

While all minor league teams were impacted by the decision, the fact the PawSox were getting to set to play their final season in Pawtucket, prior to moving to Worcester, Mass., likely makes the news a bit tougher to swallow. It means they’ve played their last game in Pawtucket.

Tweet of the Day
Good work, ya’ll.

Video of the Day
Annual reminder that Jaroslav Halak should bring confidence to Bruins fans.

Stat of the Day
Lionel Messi joined a pretty decent club Tuesday.

More NFL: How Cam Newton Joining Patriots Impact New England’s Super Bowl Odds

Thumbnail photo via Jim Brown/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton
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