The New England Patriots’ veteran players are currently scheduled to report to training camp in 11 days, on July 28. When they do, it will be the first time the entire team is coming together after the offseason had to be moved to a virtual forum due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This also means that the team’s highest-profile free agency addition will soon join his new teammates at the Patriots’ Gillette Stadium facility: quarterback Cam Newton.
Newton was signed to a one-year contract in late June, and will compete against Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer for the team’s starting quarterback gig this summer. While it remains to be seen how this competition unfolds, and what role the Patriots effectively have in mind for the former league MVP, one of New England’s veteran leaders approves of the team bringing the long-time Carolina Panthers passer on board.
“It was a great signing,” said cornerback Stephon Gilmore about the addition during a recent appearance on the Bakari Sellers Podcast. “I think Cam’s very hungry. I’ve always been a Cam fan. I think he’s hard to prepare against, and he has a great opportunity to compete for a starting job. I’m looking forward to seeing him on our team.
“I don’t think [there are quarterbacks] as big as him, as strong. I think he’s his own unique player,” added the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. “Obviously, he can run the ball. He can throw it. Anytime you can do both of those things, it’s hard to get ready for a certain thing, so he always keeps you off guard. He’s very hungry this year. I think he’s healthy now.”
Newton, of course, arrived in the league as the first overall draft pick back in 2011. Since then, he has appeared in 125 regular season games as well as seven playoff contests, and has established himself as one of the most productive dual-threat quarterbacks in league history. Over the last two seasons, however, injuries have limited his production and eventually led to his release from the Panthers in late March.
Now a member of the Patriots, Newton will compete for the starting role previously held by future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. On the other side of the ball, he will play alongside one of the NFL’s best defenses — one that is headed by veteran talent such as two-time All-Pro Gilmore. The 29-year-old, meanwhile, already seems to be aboard the Newton hype train: “I’m just looking forward to him helping our team out.”