Much has been made of Cam Newton’s release by the New England Patriots, and the lack of interest from other teams in light of that. In reality, it sounds like the biggest factor is simply that Newton isn’t the player he once was in the eyes of NFL teams.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, one experienced NFL evaluator said Newton’s history of injuries is scaring teams off. In addition, teams simply don’t believe Newton is throwing the ball well based on what was seen in recent games and preseason.
That source disputed some of the more damaging rumors, such as one about Newton’s struggles learning the playbook. This was written off as some ex-Patriots having a hard time with Newton replacing Tom Brady, and using other issues as a distraction from the fact that the unvaccinated Newton failed to comply with NFL protocols.
Newton is unlikely to sign with a team before the season, it appears. Few teams are hunting for a starting quarterback, and there are questions about Newton even being at that level. Between his vaccination status and decline as a player, he might have to wait for an injury.
Former New England Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich shared a story recently that is quite unflattering for Cam Newton.
On a recent edition of “The Dan and Ninko Show,” Ninkovich said he’d been told by “inside sources” that rookie quarterback Mac Jones had been helping Newton learn the playbook, as the rookie had a better understanding of it than Newton did.
“From everything that I understand now, Mac was basically helping Cam learn the playbook,” Ninkovich said. “Mac was having less mental errors and having a better understanding of the offense. We didn’t see Cam run any two-minute (drill), we didn’t see him run any no-huddle. You have to run no-huddle. That’s vital.”
If true, it adds further context behind why the Patriots opted to go with Jones instead of Newton for 2021. It’s clear that New England’s players are fully behind Jones, and that would make sense if he simply understood the offense better.
For Newton, regardless of the missed practices and other issues, a rookie shouldn’t be ahead of a veteran on this, especially when the veteran was on the team in 2020 as well. If other teams hear about this and believe it, it’s only going to further hinder his already weak free agent market.
Cam Newton was released by the New England Patriots this week, and it does not sound like there has been much interest in the former MVP.
There was initially a report that the Dallas Cowboys had discussed signing Newton as a backup. The Cowboys all but admitted publicly that they are set at the position, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media said that means Newton is unlikely to sign anywhere before the season.
As Rapoport explained, some teams may be concerned about signing a former star to be a backup.
Even if teams were interested in Newton, he might prefer to wait until next offseason. The way his contract was structured with the Patriots gives him some financial incentive to not play.
The Patriots were the only team that offered Newton a chance to start last season. He had an abysmal year, though many blamed it on New England’s lack poor roster and his limited time in the system. Newton was then beat out by rookie Mac Jones and released. We doubt teams are excited about the potential of adding him.
Cam Newton was released by the New England Patriots earlier this week, and it remains to be seen if he will have an opportunity to play in 2021. Depending on the circumstances, the former NFL MVP may not want one.
Newton collected a $2 million signing bonus with the Patriots, and his $1.5 million salary is also guaranteed. The deal includes offsets for New England, which means they have to make up the difference if Newton signs for less elsewhere. As Ross Tucker noted on Wednesday, the veteran minimum salary is $1.075 million.
Cam Newton $1.5M guaranteed salary from Patriots with offsets
unlikely any team pays him more than the minimum ($1.075M)
So, unless a team is willing to pay Newton more than $1.5 million, he essentially has no financial incentive to play. He will be collecting a minimum of $1.5 million no matter what happens. He would probably sign with a team for the minimum if he had an opportunity to start, but he’s unlikely to get an offer like that unless there is an injury to a team’s starter.
The Patriots were the only team that offered Newton a chance to start last season. He had an abysmal year, though many blamed it on New England’s lack poor roster and his limited time in the system. Newton was then beat out by rookie Mac Jones and released.
It doesn’t sound like we should necessarily expect Cam Newton to find a new team anytime soon after he was released by the New England Patriots.
In an appearance on “SportsCenter” Wednesday, ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reported that it didn’t seem likely that Newton would attract much interest, noting that the quarterback went unsigned for three months last offseason. Darlington added that any interested teams would likely see Newton as a backup option.
“There’s not a lot of teams right now that are necessarily all that interested in bringing on Newton at all,” Darlington said.
Darlington also pointed out that Newton’s unvaccinated status could work against him, even as a backup. Under NFL protocols, unvaccinated close contacts to positive tests are out five days. Darlington points out that if a vaccinated starting quarterback were to test positive for COVID, the backup would almost certainly be ruled a close contact. In other words, Newton would be out for five days, meaning having him as a backup in that situation would be effectively useless to teams.
There have been reports that Newton’s unvaccinated status was a factor in his release, though the Patriots have strongly denied this in public. That said, the protocols being what they are, there’s no way the Patriots didn’t consider the scenario Darlington outlined and, may have come to the conclusion that Newton wouldn’t even be reliable as a backup option.
Newton didn’t show a great deal on the field in 2020 either, throwing eight interceptions and only seven touchdowns in 15 starts. Those aren’t numbers that are going to have any team eagerly pursuing the 32-year-old.
Many were shocked that the New England Patriots released Cam Newton this week, and one theory is that the quarterback’s decision to not get the COVID-19 vaccine played a role in the decision. As you might expect, Bill Belichick insists it did not.
“No. You guys keep talking about that, and I would just point out that … the number of players and coaches and staff members that have been affected by COVID in this training camp who have been vaccinated is a pretty high number,” Belichick said, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. “I wouldn’t lose sight of that.”
Belichick was then asked if he considered keeping Newton as a backup to Mac Jones.
Those responses are exactly what you would expect from Belichick. He never reveals his motivation behind roster moves other than “doing what’s best for the team.”
Newton missed several days of practice last week due to what the Patriots called a “misunderstanding” with COVID protocols. The team was reportedly frustrated with him over the situation. He then played poorly in Sunday’s preseason game against the New York Giants, and Jones played well.
Numerous reasons have been given for the Patriots’ decision. One factor in New England’s decision reportedly was Cam’s vaccination status against COVID-19.
Pro Football Network’s Adam Beasley, who used to cover the Miami Dolphins, reports that the main factors were Cam’s uninspiring play, Jones’ emergence, and Cam being unvaccinated.
There wasn't just one reason that Cam Newton is gone. It was a combination of at least three, I'm told: Mac Jones' emergence, Newton's vaccination stance (which caused a bit of a stir behind the scenes) and Cam's uninspiring performance this summer.
Cam Newton is unlikely to draw interest as a starting quarterback in the wake of his release from the New England Patriots, but the market for him as a backup may already be taking shape.
The Dallas Cowboys are planning to explore the idea of signing Newton as a possible backup to Dak Prescott, ESPN’s Jordan Schultz reports. The Cowboys released quarterbacks Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci this week and currently have Cooper Rush as No. 2 on the depth chart. Rush has minimal experience, with just one career NFL completion.
Given Prescott’s injury history, it makes sense that the Cowboys would want to add a veteran backup before the start of the season. Prescott is fully recovered from the gruesome ankle injury he suffered last year, but he has also battled a shoulder issue in the preseason. There have been rumblings that the shoulder could bother Prescott all year, though the Cowboys have repeatedly insisted they are not concerned.
Newton signed with the Patriots last year after they were the only team to give him an opportunity to start. He then had an abysmal season in 2020, throwing for 2,657 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The 31-year-old was beat out by rookie Mac Jones this summer.
“I really appreciate all the love and support during this time but I must say … please don’t feel sorry for me!! #imGOOD,” Newton wrote.
Newton was beat out by rookie Mac Jones. While a lot of people were surprised the Patriots released him, the move makes sense. Newton was horrible last season, but Bill Belichick gave him a chance to show he had improved. Since Newton was not able to win a QB competition with a rookie, it is hardly a surprise that the Patriots don’t want him on the roster as a backup.