The New England Patriots added a league MVP and three-time Pro Bowl selection quarterback to their roster this offseason, but left the door open for Cam Newton to not be the team’s replacement for three-time MVP, 14-time Pro Bowl selection, and six-time Super Bowl champion who left the team this year. With Tom Brady now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Newton was added as “competition” for second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham - though most presumed Newton was the starter as soon as he signed his contract.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport - and tweeted by the NFL’s own Twitter account - the Patriots have named Newton their starter for Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins. Given the Patriots also announced their 2020 captains, a list which included Newton, it makes sense he will be the starter.
Of course, things in New England are never that simple. Head coach Bill Belichick denied that he has named any starters yet, because Belichick is not one to ever give anything away in the media. “We’re not name any starters at any positions,” Belichick said Friday. “Any conversations that I have with the team will stay between me and the team. We’re not naming any roster, starters, positions, or who is on the team or anything else like that.”
Even with Belichick’s Belichickian statement, it has always seemed like Newton would be the starter for the Patriots - otherwise why would he have been signed? Stidham has potential and could develop into the long-term starter for the Patriots, but the Dolphins likely need to plan to face Newton next week. For his career, Newton has thrown for 29,041 yards on a 59.6 percent completion rate, with 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions. He has only played a full 16-game schedule twice over the last six years, including being limited to just two games last year. He has spent his entire career up until this season with the Carolina Panthers who made the 2010 Hesiman Trophy winner the first-overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2011, 2013, and 2015, along with being a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2015. Newton and the Panthers appeared in Super Bowl 50 following the 2015 season, losing to the Denver Broncos.