Even though Cam Newton is entering his second season with the New England Patriots coming off a statistically disappointing campaign, he still is a respected player in the NFL with an obvious pull. After the Patriots’ free agency bonanza, for example, multiple offensive players brought aboard stated their excitement to play with the veteran quarterback.
Now, an acquisition on the other side of the ball also spoke highly about sharing a locker room with the 32-year-old. Linebacker Matthew Judon was asked about who he would be most excited to play with in New England during a recent AMA over at Bleacher Report:
Super Cam, excited to play with him. Growing up watching what he did in college to becoming an NFL MVP and leading his team to the Super Bowl. They barely lost. What he meant for QBs at the time, it was just incredible what he did.
Newton was not the first dual-threat quarterback to enter the NFL, but he possessed a big-play ability few others before him brought to the table. Coming out of Auburn as the first overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, he combined the arm talent and athleticism as a runner that would propel him to superstar status and role model for countless players coming after him.
While Newton’s long-term future with the Patriots is in doubt — the team invested the 15th overall selection in last month’s draft in Alabama QB Mac Jones — there is no denying that players still gravitate towards him. Judon is just the latest to publicly state that much.
As for the linebacker himself, he joined New England a four-year, $56 million pact a mere hours into the legal tampering period in March. While the investments on the offensive side of the ball made most of the headlines in free agency, the richest deal handed out by the team actually belonged to Judon.
The Patriots obviously expect the 28-year-old to play a starter-level role in their defensive front seven, and to bolster a unit that struggled mightily during the 2020 season. So far, however, his impact can only be projected. After all, as he pointed out during the AMA, he has only met head coach Bill Belichick once before the start of the Phase 2 voluntary offseason workouts:
I met with him one time. My initial thoughts is he a really cool guy, he’s down to earth and he knows a lot of football.
Judon also touched on another Patriots-related topic during the AMA: his toughest and favorite quarterbacks to sack. Between his regular season and playoff appearances, the long-time Baltimore Ravens defender has 35.5 sacks on his career résumé. Of those, however, none came against long-time New England QB and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter Tom Brady.
As a result, Judon named him his most difficult passer to take down:
Tom Brady is the toughest just because he intentionally grounds the ball every time. Every time I’m about to get a sack on him, he throws the ball away. My favorite, I don’t think I have a favorite. Obviously, Ben Roethlisberger. That rivalry runs deep. Any sack I can get, I will take.
Judon will get another chance to finally get a sack against Brady: in Week 4, he and the Patriots will host the future Hall of Famer at Gillette Stadium.