Cam Newton a Patriot
Bill Belichick watched the greatest quarterback ever to lace’em up, Tom Brady, walk away after a glorious 20-year reign in New England to begin his next chapter in Tampa Bay, one of the NFL’s most desolate wastelands. Many assumed Belichick would desperately search for a veteran replacement, or snag a slick, young, hotshot QB in the first round of April’s draft.
But the Evil Genius did neither and put his faith in a second-year pro, plucked from the fourth round in the 2019 draft, named Jarrett Stidham. The former Auburn Tiger had a grand total of four passes in his first season – and one of those was an interception. We saw for the first time in forever that the Patriots were no longer favored to win the division at odds of +150, trailing the favored Bills at +120 to claim the AFC East, odds provided by Sportsbookreview.com.
But few in New England dared question Belichick, instead, choosing to believe that if he trusted Stid the Kid then so should the rest of us. Brian Hoyer, a journeyman quarterback serving in his third tour of duty in Foxboro, was going to be the mentor Stidham needed and a lifeline in the event the youngster got hurt or just didn’t work out. There were two other undrafted rookie QB’s by the names of J’Mar Smith and Brian Lewerke, hailing from La. Tech and Michigan State, respectively. They were the warm bodies that would be used during training camp, with one possibly being stashed on the practice squad if he showed any promise.
QBs: Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, Cam Newton, J’Mar Smith, Brian Lewerke.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) June 28, 2020
However, Sunday night a seismic tremor shifted the football landscape in Foxboro, and the entire AFC East, for that matter, when the Pats’ inked former MVP, Cam Newton, to a one-year pact in an incentive-laden contract that could be worth as much as $7.5 million if all his goals were reached. Three quarterbacks on the roster for chump change, with one being a possible gamechanger, the other showing enough promise that a future Hall of Fame coach like Belichick was content to watch all the other free agent QB’s sign elsewhere, while the third is the prototypical company man.
Even the oddsmakers took notice as the Patriots are now listed as the favorites to win the division with Buffalo trailing a close second. The conventional wisdom is that Newton will assume the starting role while Stidham gets another year to roam the sidelines, clipboard in hand, and soak up the nuances of what it means to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
However, that may not be entirely true. Newton is still recovering from a foot injury that saw him sidelined for all but two games last season. The 2015 MVP has been hampered by injuries and his fall from grace has been precipitous, with no other NFL teams willing to take a gamble and sign the 31-year-old to a contract, small or large. It’s a very real possibility that Stidham will be under center when the season opens and Newton will either be on the IR, continuing to rehab, or waiting in the wings as a more reliable replacement than Hoyer if Stidham is not NFL ready. The next few months will tell the tale but don’t count Stidham out just yet!
Corona Cancels Canton
The NFL has been the beneficiary of a generous calendar amid the global pandemic that has shut down all other professional sports around the world, including the NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball. Roger Goodell’s virtual NFL Draft was a smashing success with none of the technical glitches many assumed would occur.
However, the next major event on the NFL slate, the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio is the first domino to fall. The game was scheduled on August 6th and serves as the first preseason contest. This could be a precursor for things to come, like the cancellation of some, or all of the preseason contests, and maybe pushing the regular season back to late September or early October.
Nobody wants that, least of all the league owners, but with the recent spike in COVID-19 cases it could become a reality in the very near future.
The Cowboys and Steelers, who were scheduled to play in this year’s preseason opener, now are expected to play in the 2021 Hall of Fame game next summer, per sources. The HOF enshrinement ceremony also is expected to be held then.https://t.co/1dGl2DX2iq
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 25, 2020