For the last several weeks it seems like each have been devoted to one specific quarterback for the Patriots in 2021.
There was Matthew Stafford, Jimmy Garoppolo, Marcus Mariota and now it seems like this will be the week of Cam Newton.
It all stems from his appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast, which was a conversation between Newton, Brandon Marshall, Fred Taylor and Chad Johnson. It was hard to stop listening and not think he has a chance of returning to the Patriots.
“Yes, hell yes," Newton said when asked if he would be open to returning to the Patriots.
The quarterback noted the organization and players would be more familiar with him and he would get a full offseason in the system. Naturally, it would seem like he would be better than he was a year ago.
New England went 7-9 with some of the worst quarterback play in the league, so couldn’t the team get to a winning record with likely better play at the position combined with adding more talent for Newton to work with?
An argument could be made that the Patriots would be a playoff team with Newton returning and him getting several weapons to work with in the passing game.
This brings us to our larger point: when it comes to attracting free agents to the organization next month, Newton is more apt to do that than the other potential options via free agency or trade.
Think about it, would a top free agent pass-catcher want to play with Newton or Marcus Mariota/Mitchell Trubiksy/Jacoby Brissett?
It’s an easy answer — Newton.
Newton speaking with Marshall, Taylor and Johnson — all former NFL players — showed the clout he still holds around the league. While he obviously had a poor 2020 season, when players think of him they are more likely to think back to his 2015 MVP season.
The Patriots, with the fourth-most cap space in the league this offseason, figure to be in the mix for almost all of the free agents at wide receiver and tight end. Could signing Newton at the start of free agency help their cause when it comes to potentially landing them?
Yes, it probably would. At least more than say trading for Mariota or signing a free agent like Trubisky, Brissett or even Ryan Fitzpatrick. No player in the league is saying they want to play with those three, but they might say that want to play with Newton and be part of him proving he wasn’t what he was in 2020.
Now, this certainly doesn’t mean that Newton is the only quarterback the Patriots bring in this offseason, but he could help attract other pieces to New England.
An ideal scenario could be adding Newton and then drafting a quarterback in the first round. The veteran showed last year he could be the ideal player to mentor a young quarterback and play a role similar to what Fitzpatrick did last year in Miami with Tua Tagovailoa.
While many would like to move on from Newton, don’t shut that door just yet. He may have more value than we think.