Will Cam Newton Signing With Patriots Motivate Jarrett Stidham In 2020?


Jul 2, 2020

How Jarrett Stidham responds to the New England Patriots signing Cam Newton could go a long way toward determining his NFL future.

Sound like an overreaction? Well, consider how much the narrative has changed since the Patriots on Sunday reportedly agreed to a one-year, incentive-laden contract with Newton.

It seemed like Stidham was poised to replace Tom Brady as New England’s starting quarterback in 2020, prompting an outpouring of support for the second-year signal-caller and extensive debate as to whether he’d ultimately represent Bill Belichick’s latest stroke of genius. Now, there are inherent questions regarding Stidham’s confidence and competence, even though the Newton deal likely has nothing to do with the man he’ll presumably usurp atop the Patriots’ Brady-less QB depth chart in 2020.

There are two ways Stidham can navigate his new normal: Either he can fall victim to the moment, the diminished role and the outside skepticism, allowing his morale to be shattered as a former NFL MVP accepts the keys to New England’s offense. Or he can stand there and fight — figuratively, of course — to show he’s the Patriots’ long-term answer under center despite their new, highly publicized marriage.

“To me, this is a great test for Stidham because look, when he comes in last year, he’s not beating out Tom Brady, we all know he’s not beating out Tom Brady,” NFL Media’s Mike Giardi said Thursday on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show,” as transcribed by WEEI.com. “So you learn, you observe, he got more first-team reps because Brady didn’t always practice, all those sorts of things. But there was no competition there — I guess competition with Brian Hoyer, but let’s face it, Brian is what he is. This is sort of a competition.”

More Patriots: What Cam Newton’s Presence Means For Jarrett Stidham

Maybe it’s not a true competition. After all, Newton is a three-time Pro Bowl selection with elite upside, provided he stays healthy. He’ll probably be the starter once Week 1 of the regular season rolls around.

But that doesn’t mean Stidham can’t give the Patriots something to think about, much like Jimmy Garoppolo did in his three-plus seasons with New England before being traded to the San Francisco 49ers in 2017. It just might win over his teammates and pave the way for a starting job down the road, whether it’s because Newton leaves New England or the Patriots eventually decide Stidham is better equipped for the gig.

“This forces a little bit of, ‘OK, show me something now because you thought maybe you were going to be the guy and now we are telling you Cam Newton is here, so put your chips on the table. Show me what you got. Try to convince the teammates that maybe the gravitational pull is over there, but I am the better quarterback now,’ ” Giardi said. “That I think is probably what they are hoping for, some sort of buck up from Stidham saying, ‘No, no. This is my team.’ I think that will be the interesting thing if and when we get to camp.”

We might not be able to read too much into Stidham’s future now, just days removed from Newton joining the Patriots. But we’ll sure learn a lot about the young quarterback in time, even if he doesn’t take the first (or last) snap of New England’s 2020 season.

More Patriots: Could Jarrett Stidham, Not Cam Newton, Actually Be New England’s Week 1 Starter?

Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu
Previous Article

Here’s Story Behind Patriots’ Mohamed Sanu, Cam Newton Working Out Together

Next Article

NFL Rumors: League Considering Cutting 90-Man Training Camp Rosters

Picked For You