It wasn't until July 8, 2020 that Cam Newton signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots. The former Carolina Panthers quarterback and league MVP won the starting job, and impressed early on, but he wound up turning in a pretty disappointing season overall.
While Newton remained a major goal line threat, his passing deteriorated as the season wore on. He finished with just 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in 15 games during the 2020 season.
The team drafted Mac Jones in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Alabama quarterback has made a good early impression, but it is no surprise that Bill Belichick would like to go with the veteran if possible. Newton is back for a second year, he knows the system far better now, and the Patriots have invested heavily at the wide receiver and tight end positions this offseason.
“Cam’s way ahead of where he was last year at this time, there’s no question about that,” Belichick said on Tuesday, via ProFootballTalk. “As you would expect, he has a good year of experience under his belt. He’s able to start the process at the beginning and not be in a catch-up mode like he was last year.”
Cam Newton had a minor setback during OTAs, when he hit his hand on a teammate's helmet on a throw. The team kept him out of drills for a few days as a precaution, but he's back in action now, earlier than most expected.
We'll see if he takes a big step forward in 2021, and holds off Jones for the time being. If Newton is closer to the star quarterback that he was with the Panthers, the New England Patriots should be a very intriguing team in 2021.
The Pats open the 2021 season with their up-and-coming AFC East rivals the Miami Dolphins at home on Sept. 12.