Why Patriots Reportedly Viewed Cam Newton As Less-Than-Ideal Backup QB

Would Newton's 'aura' have been a distraction behind Mac Jones?


The Patriots theoretically could have kept Cam Newton to back up Mac Jones, rather than cut the veteran quarterback last week after the rookie won New England’s QB competition.

But it doesn’t sound like that was much of a consideration for Bill Belichick and Co., and Newton explained in an interview posted Friday on YouTube why he believes the Patriots instead chose to outright release him.

“Can we be honest? The reason why they released me is because, indirectly, I was going to be a distraction, without being the starter,” Newton said during a sitdown interview with his father, Cecil. “Just my aura. That’s my gift and my curse. When you bring Cam Newton to your facility, your franchise, people are interested.”

Others made similar assessments in wake of Newton’s release, as the three-time Pro Bowl selection certainly is a high-profile quarterback who likely would garner attention even as a backup.

WCVB-TV’s Christopher Gasper lent additional credence to Newton’s comments Friday when responding to the notion that the 2015 MVP might have hindered his future NFL employment opportunities with his candid interview.

Two NFL sources told Gasper that Newton’s presence, persona and cachet with players made the Patriots view him as a less-than-ideal backup quarterback.

Gasper then added that said outlook was based on New England having an unproven rookie starter, though, and that other teams with more established QBs probably wouldn’t have much of a problem with Newton on the roster as a backup.

“Those guys aren’t going to feel threatened or intimidated by Cam,” Gasper tweeted after pointing out that Newton could easily back up someone like Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys or Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens. “It’s tougher with a rookie, who will have some growing pains to have Newton looming behind him. But if it was such a Mac slam-dunk QB competition win that shouldn’t matter. The whole team knows who the best guy is.”

Newton’s interview was very revealing, but the 32-year-old made sure to clarify that he believes the Patriots are in good hands with Jones, whom New England selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Newton even acknowledged he would’ve been OK with backing up Jones.

Jones, 23, will make his first career NFL start Sunday when the Patriots host the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Week 1 of the 2021 season. Newton remains a free agent.

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