Cam Newton is all the rage in New England right now, but one of the quarterback’s former teammates still believes we could see Jarrett Stidham under center for the Patriots come Week 1.

After lingering in free agency for over three months, Newton signed a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the Patriots, whose quarterback situation is surrounded by uncertainty in wake of Tom Brady’s departure. Stidham was the presumed next man up for the majority of the offseason, but many immediately penciled Newton in for the job upon the 2015 NFL MVP landing with New England.

Steve Smith, however, isn’t quite there yet. The former NFL wideout, who played with Newton for three seasons in Carolina, assessed the Patriots’ signal-caller saga during a recent appearance on WFNZ in Charlotte.

“Right now, it’s Stidham’s job to lose,” Smith said, as transcribed by 247Sports. “I’m pretty sure the guy who was on the roster prior to getting a free agent guy that signed the league minimum that’s incentivized would say money talks and BS walks. And when you are signing through free agency and you are signing a league-minimum – $550,000 guaranteed and close to $6 million in incentives – that is a ‘Earn It’. That is a ‘Prove It’ deal, that is a bet on yourself. And not everybody is built for that, and not everybody understands what that entails. And each ‘bet on yourself’ type of contract manifests itself into something different.”

We imagine Smith’s take would prompt a pretty hefty sigh from Emmanuel Acho. The former linebacker-turned-analyst believes it’s “asinine” to think Newton won’t be the Patriots’ starting quarterback when they open their 2020 season in mid-September.

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