Former New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is serious about returning to the NFL. Newton, who wasn’t vaccinated when he was released by the Patriots just before the start of the regular season, has since received the vaccination to help fight COVID-19, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport.
Some believe his unvaccinated status played a role in his release, though Patriots head coach Bill Belichick denies that was a factor. In any case, Newton is now seemingly cleared any major obstacle that would prevent him from signing with his next NFL team.
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Newton Makes Sense for Multiple NFL Teams
With Week 6 on the horizon, there is still no shortage of potential landing spots for the former NFL MVP thanks to injuries and quarterback uncertainty around the league:
- The Pittsburgh Steelers have a struggling and compromised Ben Roethlisberger.
- The Seattle Seahawks have turned to Geno Smith as a backup after Russell Wilson was placed on injured reserve on October 15.
- The Houston Texans have a complicated situation around Deshaun Watson, an injured Tyrod Taylor and an unproven rookie Davis Mills.
- The Miami Dolphins must have some questions about Tua Tagovailoa. Through his rookie season and part of the 2021 campaign, he has emitted strong signs of landing in the bust category.
These are all scenarios that could create an opening for Newton. While the level of trepidation teams had in regards to Newton’s previous unvaccinated status remains unknown, we do know that it couldn’t have been a positive in the big picture.
Pro Football Network NFL insider Adam Beasley reported the day Newton was cut by New England that vaccination status was one of “at least” three reasons for Bill Belichick’s decision to move on.
An even bigger potential impediment for Newton may be scheme fit. To see what Newton can offer an offense, a team must be willing to run an attack catered to what he does best.
In his September 10 YouTube video explaining why he was released by the Patriots, Newton talked a bit about his frustrations with the preseason approach that didn’t allow him to show his value.
“All my preseason game plans are kind of watered down, lethargic, vanilla — my performance, my skillset won’t show in no preseason,” Newton said. “There are quarterback runs, design runs, scrambling ability — and there are times I felt like I could have scrambled in preseason, but I’m like, man I’m saving myself for the season.”
Unfortunately, he never got a chance to display the talents he was saving.
Could Newton Return to Patriots Now That He’s Vaccinated?
Back on September 26, Mass Live’s Chris Mason talked about Newton’s chances of returning to the Patriots. Mason doesn’t see it as impossible, but he did lay out the circumstances necessary to bring about this reunion.
He wasn’t the starting quarterback, and he wasn’t available for a critical period of time and they made the decision that they think is best for their football team. I also don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that Cam Newton is back there in some capacity at some point and time.
Based on what Belichick’s seeing out of the team, based on what he’s seeing out of the quarterback. Obviously based on any potential injury situations. I think Bill Belichick still thinks very highly of Cam Newton and there’s a lot of things about Cam Newton that he likes, but they’re going to run their offense in a different way, with a quarterback with some different skill sets at this stage.
The only way this seems possible is if there is an injury to Mac Jones that has him sidelined for the rest of the season. If that happens and the Patriots still have a glimmer of hope in making the postseason, you’d have to believe Belichick would make the call to Newton. However, there is no other situation where I envision that happening.