The New England Patriots seem committed to figuring out what they have in Jarrett Stidham and should wait to sign Cam Newton if they’re interested.
Rumors continue to swirl around the New England Patriots and their quarterback position in 2020.
That’s the kind of thing that happens when you lose the greatest quarterback of all time in free agency — to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of all teams, no less.
The starting quarterback for the Brady-less Patriots hasn’t been announced yet, and it might not happen anytime soon either.
Most people think it will be second-year man Jarrett Stidham, who was Brady’s backup in 2019 — especially now that Bill Belichick opted against selecting a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft.
It could also be Brian Hoyer. Few players have as much experience in the Patriots system as Hoyer, who is now in his third stint with the team. It’s clear that as much as the rest of the NFL may have given up on Hoyer as a starting QB at this point, there’s something about him that’s still appealing to Belichick and/or New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
The Pats could also turn the reins of their offense over to a veteran player not currently on their roster. Speculation continues to follow two names in particular these days: Andy Dalton and Cam Newton, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals and the Carolina Panthers, respectively.
With news coming out late Saturday night that Dalton is signing a deal with the Dallas Cowboys, however, that narrows the pool of available free agent QBs.
Jameis Winston, displaced by Brady himself, also recently agreed to terms with the New Orleans Saints, taking him away as a potential option as well for the Pats.
Newton is a more intriguing player than Dalton or Winston anyway — though he’s not without baggage.
Both players (Newton and Dalton) came into the league at the exact same time in 2011 — Dalton in the second round as the 35th overall pick and Newton as the No. 1 overall pick in the first. Newton is a three-time Pro Bowler just like Dalton, but Newton’s also a former league MVP.
Even more importantly, he’s played in seven postseason games to Dalton’s four — including taking Carolina all the way to the Super Bowl back in 2015. Winston, for what it’s worth, has one Pro Bowl nod and no playoff appearances.
Unfortunately, Newton has also suffered far more injuries and mileage on his body than Dalton to this point. Whereas Dalton is a more classic pocket passer, Newton was one of the very first dual-threat QBs to arrive out of college — paving the way for future stars like Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Allen who have done the same.
The problem with Newton — other than the injury history — is also his schematic fit. While there’s no denying he’s a terrific player in his own right, it’s widely theorized that a player whose self-appointed nickname is “Superman” might not be the best candidate for the “Patriot Way” and the no-nonsense, non-flashy culture that Belichick has established in New England.
Regardless of whether or not Belichick and the Patriots are interested in Newton, they’d be smart to continue waiting before signing him.
There are too many unknowns right now. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the season itself may look very different this year — if it happens at all. Stidham’s ability as the starting QB is unknown. So is Hoyer’s.
Newton’s ability to set his own ego aside and buy into the Patriot Way is unknown, as is the exact severity of all the injuries his body has accumulated over the years.
What is known right now is there is not a lot of interest in the market for him. Newton was released on March 24 and remains unsigned.
If you look around the league, most teams are content with their quarterback situations right now. Even the ones that aren’t took active measures during last month’s draft to address the position.
Honestly, the Patriots should wait until the summer at least to seriously consider acquiring Newton … if they want to at all. Right now they’re far too thin in terms of available cap space, plus they don’t need to do anything that might psych out Stidham before OTAs and training camp (assuming both happen).
If and when Stidham struggles this summer or during the preseason, then and only then should the Pats try and bring in Newton if they’re interested and he’s still available at that point. Judging by the current market, he probably will be anyway.