When the New England Patriots released Cam Newton on Tuesday morning, a handful of fans and analysts suggested that the former MVP should make his way to the nation’s capital.
With the Washington Football Team, he could re-unite with his former head coach Ron Rivera and potentially compete for the starting quarterback job. Rivera himself was asked about that speculation later on Tuesday, after his team made their own final cuts.
The head coach did reveal that he took note of Newton’s release, but said that the former MVP wouldn’t be competing to start in Washington. That’s because Rivera officially named Ryan Fitzpatrick as the team’s starting quarterback on Tuesday.
When addressing the Newton rumors, the Washington Football Team head coach firmly called the 38-year-old his QB1 headed into Week 1 of the regular season. He also expressed confidence in the team’s other quarterbacks, effectively putting any possibility of signing Newton to bed.
“It did pop up on our radar, but just so you know, Ryan Fitzpatrick is our starting quarterback. So that’s where we are. We have three guys we like that all came to camp, did a nice job for us and we’re going to go forward with those guys,” Rivera said, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post.
Ron Rivera's full answer on Cam Newton: "It did pop up on our radar, but just so you know, Ryan Fitzpatrick is our starting quarterback. So that’s where we are. We have three guys we like that all came to camp, did a nice job for us and we’re going to go forward with those guys."
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 31, 2021
Rivera’s comments on Newton come after reports suggested that Washington wouldn’t have interest in Newton. JP Finlay of NBC Sports reminded followers of the team that Rivera had opportunities to pursue the former MVP in the past and chose not to. After a lackluster year in 2020, Newton wouldn’t draw any additional interest from Washington.
“Ron Rivera has repeatedly not signed Cam Newton as the boss in Washington,” Finlay wrote on Twitter. “He’s not doing it now either.”
Even more notably, Rivera settled any lingering doubt about the team’s quarterback situation. Fitzpatrick clearly beat out Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen for the starting job and the team will move forward accordingly.
Fitzpatrick had somewhat of an erratic year in 2020 with the Miami Dolphins. He played in nine games and made seven starts, but his up-and-down play prevented him from separating himself from rookie Tua Tagovailoa. He ended the year with a career-high 68.5 percent completion percentage, while throwing for 2,091 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
In Washington, the starting job is Fitzpatrick’s alone, so maybe that will help bolster his confidence heading into a new year. He’ll take the field in the Washington Football team opener on Sept. 12 against the Los Angeles Chargers.