There is a legitimate quarterback competition in New England Patriots training camp this year, but there is no question which player on the roster commands the most attention with every mention and sight of him. That’s unequivocally 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton. This was evident again on Tuesday when Newton was the featured attraction on Patriots picture day, despite the team’s efforts to treat him like just another guy on the team.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
Cam Newton’s Image Was All Over Social Media on Tuesday
When the Patriots posted images of their roster on the team’s official Instagram account on Tuesday, they didn’t put Newton up as the lead image. If you take a look at the post below, you’ll see veteran safety Devin McCourty gets the featured spot. There are 10 images in the first slideshow, and Newton’s is sixth.
Even with this seemingly random placement, it was Newton who had his images found all over Twitter just hours after the Patriots’ post went live.
Other Patriots had their images posted online as well, but not with the frequency that Newton’s were posted. It’s with good reason, as Newton is the most recognizable player on the roster, despite the economical deal he signed with the team during the offseason. Newton agreed to a one-year deal worth a potential $7.5 million if he reaches all of his incentive goals, but is only guaranteed $550,000. That’s a far cry from the handsome deal he signed with the Carolina Panthers during the peak of his career.
At 31, Newton is still young enough to play at an elite level but his battles with injury have some people doubting how effective he’ll be ahead of the 2020 NFL season.
Setting Up the Pieces for Newton to Have Success
The Patriots are doing the right thing. They should make this quarterback competition look like an even race. Still, everyone with an ounce of understanding of NFL football knows the job is Newton’s to lose. Many agree Jarrett Stidham, Newton’s primary competition for the job, has some nice tools, but if Newton is healthy and proves he can play anywhere near the level he performed in 2015, he won’t just be the starting quarterback, he’ll have a chance to lead the Patriots deep into the postseason.
The Patriots are playing things straight, but if you pay attention to the way the roster is being set up, you can see it’s being built with Newton in mind. The Patriots have reportedly agreed to sign former Pro Bowler and speedy running back Lamar Miller, who might be able to do some of the things Christian McCaffrey did with Newton in Carolina. The Patriots also retained the speedy wide receiver Jeff Thomas, who was an undrafted free agent, and re-signed Will Hastings and Isaiah Zuber, who could all be dynamic run-after-the-catch options.
If the Patriots can lean on their defense, utilize Newton’s running ability as well as his big arm for the occasional deep throw while also maintaining a ball-control approach with RPOs, short passes, and option plays, we may soon be reminded why it appears Newton is the straw that stirs the drink.