Cam Newton’s New England Patriots tenure likely will conclude with Sunday’s Week 17 matchup against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium.
Newton, who was a productive rusher but struggled as a passer in his first season in New England, is not expected to re-sign with the Patriots for 2021, according to a report Sunday from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“Cam Newton sounded resigned this week to the fact that he’ll be moving on from New England,” Schefter said on “Sunday NFL Countdown.” “It looks like he’s looking for something different, the Patriots are looking for something different.
“Both sides enjoyed their relationship, but both sides expect that it will take them to a different place and a different direction in 2021 with Cam Newton likely moving on and the Patriots in search of a new quarterback for next season. We’ll see what direction they decide to go.”
Newton signed a one-year, veteran-minimum contract with the Patriots in July after missing most of the 2019 season with a foot injury. This week, he said not having a full offseason in the Patriots’ system hindered his ability to master the team’s complex offense.
“My only regret was I wish I had more time to dissect what I was actually getting into,” Newton said Thursday in a video conference. “I’ve been in this league long enough to kind of always downplay, like, ‘Man, we don’t need preseason. We don’t need OTAs. We don’t need; we’re ready to go.’ Yeah, maybe if I was still in the system I came from.
“But learning this system, yeah, you just need more time, you need more real reps to kind of go through because there’s only but so much you can kind of make up.”
Newton also played alongside arguably the NFL’s weakest collection of receivers and tight ends.
Those factors, coupled with Newton’s own inconsistency, combined to give New England a nearly nonexistent passing attack. Newton enters Week 17 ranked near the bottom of the league in most passing categories, including yards per game (32nd), yards per attempt (24th), passer rating (32nd), QBR (31st), interception rate (32nd) and passing touchdowns (tied for 37th), and the Patriots have averaged just 19.9 points per game, fifth-worst in the NFL.
Newton’s 12 rushing touchdowns rank fourth in the NFL and first among quarterbacks.
With Newton and third-stringer Brian Hoyer both set to hit free agency, Jarrett Stidham is the only Patriots QB currently under contract for 2021.