Cam Newton has been great for the New England Patriots in the three games he’s played. The Patriots just got him back to practice on Thursday after a battle with COVID-19 sidelined him for the Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and sent a ripple effect through the roster.
Despite Newton’s strong start and buzz about an extension for the 2015 NFL MVP, there is talk that the Patriots might be interested in another former winner of the award.
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Matt Ryan is Available, And “By Far The Best Option” for the Patriots
There is a ton of change happening in Atlanta.
Owner Arthur Blank just fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after the Falcons got off to an abysmal 0-5 start that saw the team blow multiple fourth-quarter leads. Because of this change, it was only natural Blank would be asked about Ryan’s future with the organization.
The 2008 NFL MVP is 35 years old and he has a $40 million cap hit coming in 2021. It’s easy to see why the Falcons might be willing to trade him in hopes of kickstarting a rebuild.
On Monday, Blank said the following during his press conference that announced the firings of Quinn and Dimitroff.
I love Matt, much like I love Dan [Quinn], I love Thomas [Dimitroff]. Matt’s been a franchise leader for us. A great quarterback. One of the leading quarterbacks in the last 13 years in the NFL. So I hope he’s gonna be part of our plans going forward. But that will be a decision that I won’t make. You know, Matt has the ability to play at a very high level, even at this age. Whether that’s gonna continue or not, I’m not sure. I appreciate his willingness to consider doing that, and the level of what he’s played for us for 13 years, which has been incredible. So I — we’ll have to see. But then again that’s gonna be a decision at the end of the day that’ll be — part of it will be up to the player and part of it will be up to the coaching staff. And whether or not Matt can keep himself together and God willing he’ll be able to do that and play at the level that he’s capable of playing at.
That’s a compliment, but not exactly an endorsement, and it’s far from a guarantee that the Falcons will hold on to Ryan through a restructuring. Following this statement, rumors began to swirl around a potential Ryan trade.
WEEI’s John Andersen offered his assessment of what could be an interesting QB market in 2021, and he talked about what the Patriots’ options would be. Clearly, he’s high on Ryan coming to Foxborough.
The obvious landing spot for a potential Ryan emigration is San Francisco with Kyle Shanahan, whose offensive scheme helped script Matt Ryan’s MVP season in 2016. This would of course open the door for Jimmy Garoppolo to be either released or traded, as well as create one of the more thrilling offseasons of QB movement in recent memory. Ryan and Garoppolo would join the likes of Dak Prescott, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, and Jameis Winston as QBs potentially on the move. Of those six options, and assuming the Patriots don’t get a draft pick high enough in the 2021 draft to be in a position to draft one of the top QB prospects, Ryan is by far the best option available. And it’s not particularly close.
Why John Andersen Couldn’t Be More Wrong
I would agree with Andersen that Ryan trumps Prescott, but only because of the uncertainty surrounding him after his horrific leg injury on Sunday. Ryan would definitely get the nod over Dalton and Winston too, but he’s wrong to put the Falcons great ahead of Newton.
There are some very simple reasons Newton is not only a better fit for the Patriots but a superior option for just about any team.
Newton is younger. Andersen talks about Ryan’s durability which has proven to be better than Newton’s for sure, but at the end of the day, the former is still 35 years old and the latter is 31. Newton has adopted a new vegan diet and he looks to be as healthy as he has been in years.
Ryan is a strong leader, but I believe we’ve seen in just the short time Newton has been in New England, that he possesses intangibles that are rarely found in any football player. He galvanizes people and that cannot be overstated.
Most importantly, Newton’s athletic ability and dual-threat talent is a must for the Patriots roster, at least as currently constructed. The Patriots don’t have a ton of weapons on offense. There are no Julio Jones, Roddy Whites, Calvin Ridleys, or even prime Mohamed Sanus running routes for the Patriots.
Like most quarterbacks, Ryan needs a wealth of talent at the skill positions to be effective. Newton has proven in the past that he doesn’t, and he’s showing you the same thing in 2020 with the Patriots’ current roster.
Unless the Patriots are going to bring in a ton of talent at WR and TE to accompany Ryan, there is no way he’s a better fit than Newton, and even then I’m not so sure he should get the nod.
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