Adam Schefter Reports Cam Newton Won't Be Back in New England Next Year
Assuming this is true and today is Cam Newton's last game as a Patriot - and seeing as it's an Adam Schefter report which tells me it's coming directly from the team - so ends an experiment that, while noble, was an unquestionable failure.
You can't blame Bill Belichick for trying. At a time when he was flush up against the salary cap, he was able to squeeze in the 2015 league MVP for a risk-free, no obligation, no money down, dirt cheap, one year, Prove It deal that was all upside, no downside. Try it and if you don't like it, return it for (almost) a full refund. And return it he will.
I'll have many more thoughts on this as it becomes official. But my immediate reaction is that Newton came in under almost impossible circumstances. Replacing the irreplaceable legend. No offseason to speak of. Most of his prep work in learning an entirely new system unlike any he'd ever run before in terms of play calls, protections, nomenclature, reads and options - not to mention an entirely new roster in transition - done remotely and at an abbreviated training camp. He and the offense got off to a promising start until he tested positive for the 'Vid and nothing was ever the same.
Simply put, things didn't work out. But entirely for football reasons. Not for lack of trying. Not because he didn't "fit into the culture in New England" or whatever other nonsense some people were spewing. Newton put in maximum effort. His teammates and coaches responded to him. The media adored him as he became THE best interview of any sports figure in the market. We'll never be able to gauge it because he played in front of a total of zero fans in his home games, but I think for the most part the public appreciated Newton until his play dropped off, his passing cratered and his benchings increased. By the time we hit the end of the season, enough was enough. The numbers don't lie. Maybe he didn't fit the system or possibly he hasn't fully recovered from his surgeries. But it's obvious if this franchise is going to have to find a solution quarterback, and a 32-year-old Cam Newton is not it.
If you were wondering what Step One in course-correcting the Patriots and getting them back to the top of the AFC East was going to be, this is it. The 2021 season has just begun.