The excitement surrounding Cam Newton signing with the Patriots is beyond dead.
We’ll admit it. We were thrilled when the New England Patriots signed Cam Newton. “This team isn’t going to miss a beat without Tom Brady!” “How did the rest of the NFL allow this highway robbery?!” Then came the “Newton deserves a contract extension!” after Week 2. Now? Well, far from that.
The Patriots are 4-6 and while the reason is far from solely Newton, he’s certainly not helping. Everybody knows he lacks weapons, but he’s also missing throws, holding onto the ball way too long, making bad reads at times, and turning the ball over way too much.
Everyone cried endlessly when Cam took months to sign a contract and then finally settled on a minuscule one-year deal with the Patriots. “That’s a former MVP! How dare the league disrespects him like that!” But now 12 weeks into the 2020 season, perhaps we’re seeing why it took so long for Newton to sign.
There’s clearly a reason the Carolina Panthers released him and then immediately signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $60 million contract. If they felt Cam could get the job done under his $20+ million salary, they probably would’ve kept him, no? It’s not like Bridgewater is the future of the franchise.
But even more telling is the amount of teams that passed on Newton. The Indianapolis Colts went with Philip Rivers. The Miami Dolphins stuck with Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Chicago Bears traded for Nick Foles. The Las Vegas Raiders opted to roll with Derek Carr. The Los Angeles Chargers kept Tyrod Taylor. The Washington Football team went with three other QBs.
Though Newton is tasked with a lot — playing in Brady’s shadow, learning a new system, not many offensive weapons to work with, his first full slate of action since 2018 — he has more multi-interception game than multi-passing-touchdown games (in fact, he has none of those). He’s passed for 174 yards or fewer in six of nine games this year. He hasn’t even rushed for 100 yards in 2020, which seemed like a foregone conclusion the second he put on a Pats helmet.
And Sunday showed us that another slow start for the offense could be an indictment on Newton. He was hit on third down and threw a pick on the opening drive. The next drive he missed a wide open Jakobi Meyers 15 yards down the field and sailed the ball out of bounds. By no means has Josh McDaniels been pushing all the right buttons, but the Patriots offense being held scoreless in eight first quarters this year has to fall on some of the players … namely Newton. He’s 3/8 for 37 yards, one interception, and has taken two sacks with four or more seconds to throw in the first 28 minutes of play.
We’re not saying Newton is bad. He’s a tremendous teammate, a candid figure and self-aware veteran, but there’s perhaps a reason it took so long for him to sign this offseason when you factor in his decline and injury woes. We’re witnessing his struggles arguably get worse as the season progresses, so something’s up, though we’re not sure what.