Last month Cam Newton, one of the most prolific players in the National Football League, was released from the New England Patriots. The reason for his departure has been kept under wraps since the decision was made. What has resulted is a great deal of speculation as to why the team would sever ties with a player of Newton’s caliber. It should be stated that COVID protocols were behind the decision. The fact that Cam missed three practice sessions that may have been virus-related gives that possibility some validity. This season new protocols put into works by the NFL Commissioner’s Office will be taking a hard line on unvaccinated players. The league stated that it would no longer accommodate situations where games needed to be rescheduled due to COVID outbreaks. Last year the NFL played an extended season to remedy the canceled games during the pandemic. At this time, if a team is unable to compete due to its unvaccinated players, they would forfeit the game, which could be the risk for the Patriots if Cam is unvaccinated. But could there be more to the Cam Newton story than what we know?
It’s a fact that the New England Patriots are reeling from the post Tom Brady era. When they brought in Cam Newton, the question was would he be able to adapt to the Patriot’s offensive scheme. Brady was the quintessential pocket passer, a guy who, given time behind his offensive line, could pick a defense apart. Cam, on the other hand, is a multi-dimensional quarterback who can run the ball when pressured. The problem is that Newton’s style of play didn’t mesh with the team offensively. So, it’s fair to say that given the fact the Patriots are now in a rebuilding mode, the logical move would be to play the rookie Mac Jones. Jones was a consensus All-American quarterback out of the University of Alabama and was the first-round pick by New England in the 2021 NFL Draft. You don’t need to be a brain scientist to see that owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick plan on building the team around him. It’s the same scenario when Tom Brady replaced Drew Bledsoe. Therefore, Cam’s one-year tenure may have been just the spacer that was needed.
But what’s hard to understand is why pull the trigger so late. Toss out the fact that Cam Newton is one of the most highly acclaimed players to suit up in the NFL, who won the Heisman Trophy, was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, and the 2015 NFL MVP —it still may be mind-boggling to some. But here are the facts: he’s 32 years old, and the time it would take the team to develop to a championship level could take years. Cam Newton may be a little too long in the tooth by that time. The question now is, what’s next for Newton? Would he accept a position as a backup quarterback with the hopes of a starting opportunity down the road? The problem he has is that the Patriots made the move on him late in the preseason when teams have already determined who their starters will be. Was that intentional?
Personally, I think the better fit for Cam would be in New Orleans. Drew Brees retired, leaving the Saints without a marquee quarterback. Although the team picked up Jameis Winston during the offseason, Winston can be erratic, which could possibly benefit Cam. Another fit is The Washington Football Team. His former coach, Ron Rivera, is the head coach in DC and recently expressed interest in signing Newton. The reality is that Cam Newton is too talented to be out of the game of football. He’s a proven winner who has the right amount of moxie to put fans in the seats. Stay tuned!