BOSTON (CBS) — At this point in time, it appears as though Cam Newton is not a part of the Patriots’ post-Tom Brady world. But according to a new report, the Patriots at least considered that as a possibility.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said over the weekend that “league sources believe Newton and the New England Patriots talked early during his free agency but nothing materialized.”
While that’s not concrete, it’s certainly believable, considering what the Patriots have in their quarterbacks room. Veteran backup Brian Hoyer signed with the Patriots in late March for his third stint with the team, while second-year QB Jarrett Stidham remains the team’s most likely starter for the bulk of the 2020 season — and beyond, if things go well. Stidham, like Newton, was coincidentally drafted out of Auburn — though Stidham was taken with the 133rd overall pick in 2019, while Newton was selected first overall back in 2011.
Getting Newton — a former league MVP at the sport’s most important position — at a majorly discounted rate would be in line with the Patriots’ way of doing business. Newton has battled injuries in recent years, leading to a severe dip in production. Newton missed 14 games last year due to a foot injury, one that required surgery.
One potential issue for both parties was likely money. The Patriots have operated with very little salary cap space this offseason, so any signing of Newton — even at a discount — would have necessitated the clearance of significant money.
Despite that, the Patriots have been considered by some sportsbooks to be the favorites to land Newton. One online book still has the Patriots as the favorites, though the rest of the field is much closer than it was several weeks ago.
Fowler reported that Newton, 31, may wait to sign with a new team until “teams resume regular activity,” as the shutdowns and limited operations amid the coronavirus pandemic have not been helpful to him in his effort to try to prove to teams that he is healthy and worth signing.