Cam Newton finally landed the opportunity he’d been waiting for.
Now, it’s up to him to make the most of it.
After lingering in free agency for roughly three months, Newton joined the New England Patriots on a one-year deal. Many thought the 2015 NFL MVP was bound for a backup role in 2020, but he’ll conceivably have a legitimate shot to win the starting job in Foxboro.
The upcoming campaign will be a “prove it” year for Newton to the highest degree. That’s why NFL writer Adam Schein believes the veteran quarterback will be under more pressure than any other player in the league this season.
From Schein for NFL.com:
If Cam cannot beat out Jarrett Stidham for the starting job and/or Brian Hoyer for a roster spot, it’s over. And taking into account how injury-riddled Newton’s last two seasons have been — as well as the report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the Browns were the only other team to show even mild interest in the 2015 NFL MVP — it’s reasonable to surmise the SuperCam days are indeed over.
Cam turned 31 in May. Shoulder and foot injuries have taken a significant toll on his dynamism. In his past eight starts, going back to early November of 2018, Newton is 0-8 with more interceptions (10) than touchdown passes (9). In that span, he averaged a measly 18 ground yards per game without a single rushing touchdown. Once a dual-threat monster with jaw-dropping physical traits, Newton’s been a shell of his former self. This is why new Panthers coach Matt Rhule rightly upgraded to Teddy Bridgewater. This is why Chargers coach Anthony Lynn ignored the cries for Cam, sticking with the athletic veteran he knows (Tyrod Taylor) and drafting a quarterback for the future (Justin Herbert). This is why Cam’s former coach, Ron Rivera, traded a fifth-rounder for Kyle Allen instead of just signing Cam to join him on the Redskins.
For what it’s worth, it sure seems as though Newton is choosing to embrace the pressure as his first season in New England approaches. Judging from the QB’s recent Instagram activity, he sounds motivated as ever to make a statement in 2020.