Cam Newton wouldn’t speak in specifics, but if you read between the lines of what he said during his meeting with the press on Christmas Eve, it’s not hard to see where his heart is as it pertains to 2021.
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Cam Newton: ‘I Know Where My Heart Is’
After listening to Newton speak to the media, it seems pretty clear he wants to return to the New England Patriots in 2021. He’s not saying it directly, but you don’t have to be a behavior analysis expert to pick up on the clues.
On Thursday, Newton answered a question that was supposed to be about reflection and dealing with the media during the COVID-19 pandemic, but his response morphed into an interesting forward-looking thought that showed his fondness for the Patriots organization.
“This whole thing is not ideal for a lot of people,” Newton told reporters on December 24. “Being in the situation that I’m in right now. There is still so much that I wish I could do. Who knows what the future holds? I know where my heart is. I know what I would want. However things may play out, I’m a man. But at the same time, I know when you look back at things, there are certain things you wish happened, that didn’t happen, and there is no one to blame.”
He continued with a line that was even more interesting.
“Through it all, I appreciate all you guys, the professionalism, and it starts with this organization,” said the former league MVP. “You hear all these things about how Boston is a different market, but y’all have been good to me.”
You can hear the question in the video below. The sequence begins at the 13:30 mark.
Newton has been honest and insightful all season, and this was another example.
If Newton Returns, What’s His Role?
If the 31-year-old quarterback does return next season, it will be interesting to see what his role would be. Would Patriots head coach Bill Belichick automatically make him the starter or would he be in another open competition for the starting job?
Would his competition come from Jarrett Stidham and a rookie the team may draft, or would we see the Patriots grab another veteran free agent in the mold of long-time backup Brian Hoyer?
The fanbase would likely have a negative reaction to that move, but an automatic objection is too dismissive of a few very important factors.
If he returns, we’d be seeing Newton take the field after experiencing what we’d hope to be a more normal training camp next summer. That could and should do wonders for his comfort level in the offense. Secondly, it would be his sophomore year in New England’s system, which should deliver more mastery of its concepts as well.
There is also the likelihood the Patriots will upgrade the weapons at the quarterback’s disposal. Heading into Week 16, New England owned the third-fewest passing yards (2,785) and the fewest passing touchdowns (8) in the NFL. For perspective, the league’s current leaders in those categories are the Kansas City Chiefs (4,509) and the Green Bay Packers (40). As such, the Patriots have to bring in at least one wide receiver and a tight end that can be a viable weapon in the passing game.
With all those things in place, it’s easy to see the offense being exponentially better one year from now. On the other hand, the Patriots could simply move on. We’ll see what happens in the weeks and months to come, but it seems clear: Newton is fond of the organization and by all indications, the feeling is mutual.
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