The two biggest takeaways?
He said Bill Belichick was “dope as sh-t” and responded “hell yes” when asked if he would return to the Pats for the 2021 season if given the opportunity.
Did Belichick listen to that interview by chance?
Because it sounds like, at least behind the scenes, that he still has faith in Newton, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.
Per the report, Belichick has done “nothing but rave” about Newton this offseason, and “multiple sources” told him that it would not be a surprise if Newton is the starting signal caller in 2021.
Though fans might not be thrilled about it, there really aren’t many other options out there. And the top skill position free agents won’t exactly be enticed to sign with the Patriots if they’re going to draft a rookie to start next season. Trading for Marcus Mariota probably won’t make a difference, either.
Will Cam Newton return to the Patriots in 2021?
At the very least, Newton has a year-ish under his belt in Josh McDaniels’ offense and should be better in 2021 if the team can add some talent around him. Don’t forget, the Pats were one yard away from being 3-0 to kick off the year. Then Newton was diagnosed with COVID-19, missed two weeks, and everything kind of went downhill from there.
The former MVP needed as many practice and game reps as possible, especially after the limited offseason and lack of preseason, so that pause likely hurt him more than many would’ve expected.
The only major problem here? Newton’s arm strength. That’s easily the biggest concern. Everyone knows he’s capable of grasping an offense and running the ball effectively, but his pocket awareness and ability to throw downfield were not up to par last fall.
Could that have been due to Newton being limited to two games in 2019 coupled with coming off major shoulder surgery? Absolutely. So there’s a reason to believe there will be improvement on those fronts.
And to be honest … bringing back Newton at this point feels like a safer gamble than trading for a Mariota, drafting a Mac Jones, or signing someone like Jameis Winston.