For the second offseason in a row, it appears as if the New England Patriots will have to look for a new starting quarterback. After Tom Brady left them in free agency last year, the team and his successor, Cam Newton, are also reportedly expected to part ways after one year working together.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the two sides will explore different opportunities after the season.
“It looks like he is looking for something different, the Patriots are looking for something different,” Schefter said on NFL Countdown on Sunday morning. “Both sides enjoyed their relationship, but both sides expect that it will take them to a different place and a different direction in 2021 with Cam Newton likely moving on and the Patriots in search of a new quarterback for next season.”
The former first-overall draft pick arrived in New England shortly before training camp, signing a one-year pact with the Patriots to compete for Brady’s former job. He eventually ended up winning the competition against Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer, but has played some inconsistent football in 2020.
Appearing in 14 games so far — he missed one contest after a positive Covid-19 diagnosis in October — Newton completed 221 of 338 pass attempts for 2,415 yards as well as 5 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The 31-year-old also added 513 rushing yards and 12 scores on 126 carries. Despite those numbers, neither Stidham nor Hoyer have been able to supplant Newton as the starting quarterback during the regular season.
Still, it seems as if Newton will not be with the Patriots beyond his one-year run with the organization.
“My only regret was I wish I had more time to dissect what I was actually getting in to,” Newton said during a media conference call earlier this week. “I’ve been in this league long enough to kind of always downplay, like, ‘Man, we don’t need preseason. We don’t need OTAs. We’re ready to go.’ Maybe if I was still in the system I came from, but learning this system, you just need more time, you need more real reps to kind of go through.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick echoed those remarks at a later point.
“I agree with what Cam said. I wish we had more time together. I wish as a team we had more time with our team and with a lot of guys, especially new players. So, yeah, I agree with that,” he said.
Newton is still expected to lead the Patriots into the season finale versus the New York Jets as their starting quarterback. However, it seems as if his time with the organization is set to come to an end.
With Brian Hoyer also no lock to return — his contract will expire this offseason as well — Jarrett Stidham is the only quarterback under contract in New England beyond 2020.