Tom Brady and Cam Newton are starting down new paths this season after lengthy tenures with the organizations that drafted them.
Brady is entering his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the heels a 20-year run with the New England Patriots, while Newton is gearing up to fill the former’s shoes in Foxboro now that a nine-year stint with the Carolina Panthers is in his own rearview mirror.
So, which quarterback is facing more pressure upon changing scenery?
ESPN’s “First Take” crew debated that question Monday, and Stephen A. Smith believes Newton is the correct response based on what’s at stake personally for the 31-year-old signal-caller.
” … We’ve got some serious questions about whether or not Cam Newton is going to have a career if he does not succeed in New England,” Smith said.
” … We still look at Cam Newton, we question his ability to throw the football accurately,” he added. “And now, despite the freak athlete that he is, we’re questioning his ability to continue to run and to be the athlete that he is because of the amount of punishment his body has absorbed over the years.”
Newton has battled multiple injuries in recent seasons. He was limited to just two games in 2019 before the Panthers released him in March. Even though Brady, who just turned 43, is more than a decade older, one could argue Newton is a bigger unknown, as there’s no guarantee he’ll stay healthy let alone perform at an elite level.
“The flip side to it is that there are no real questions about Tom Brady other than age and attrition,” Smith said in assessing Newton’s outlook. “They may be significant, but that’s all you’re really questioning right now. With Cam Newton at age 31, we’re questioning if he doesn’t survive here in New England, or prosper, who’s going to even want him? I think more pressure is on him.”
Either way, it’ll be fascinating to monitor how Brady and Newton produce with the Bucs and Pats, respectively. Fairly or unfairly, they’re now very much intertwined.