But what if it’s not over yet?
Newton is a free agent after playing on a one-year contract in 2020, and the presumption is the Patriots will look for an upgrade at QB. But when asked this week on “NFL Live” for a “bold prediction” ahead of the offseason, Keyshawn Johnson suggested New England could bring back Newton for the 2021 campaign.
“I’m gonna have to go with Cam Newton back in New England,” Johnson said. “I know a lot of people think that that experiment went south. But it doesn’t seem like it quite to me. It seems like that they would like to try and find some other playmakers to build around him, possibly, because going out and drafting, getting a young quarterback, that means that you are rebooting your entire team to make a run over the next five, six, seven years. Does (Bill) Belichick really have that long to sit around and wait?
“And if they can get Cam right, there’s no pandemic, there’s a real offseason, a real training camp and not a truncated training camp, I think that’s my bold prediction.”
It’s hard to say whether that qualifies as “bold,” seeing as Newton’s market might not be that robust after an underwhelming 2020. Plus, the Patriots sure liked what the 31-year-old provided in terms of leadership.
The Patriots probably should set their sights a little higher, though, especially if they intend to use their surplus of salary cap space with an eye toward returning to contention in 2021.
New England already has been linked to several quarterbacks, most of whom would be far more appealing than simply running it back after a 7-9 finish in the Patriots’ first season post-Brady.