Poor old Jarret Stidham! The prodigal son. Is the heir apparent in New England no longer? Cam is in town now and there’s a new number 1 on the horizon.
Let’s be frank Rush Nation, Bill Belichick is no fool. He has been in the league long enough to know when something good and when he needs to walk away. Do we seriously think that one of the greatest coaches of all time would have let Tom Brady go if there was still enough in the tank for usage in the Patriots system? I think not.
In recent years we’ve seen Brandin Cooks and Jimmy G both leave when both were meant to take off in New England. Cooks has had injury issues after being traded for a first-round pick and Jimmy G hasn’t been the star the 9ers thought they were getting. Sure he took them to the Super Bowl, but he’s more of a game manager than elite talent. Bill is wise when it comes to letting players go. There have been some real errors too, Jamie Collins and Wes Welker spring to mind. Regardless, you don’t become one of the best coaches in the league, by being on the wrong side of the line when it comes to letting players go.
2015 is a long five years ago now in football terms. That’s how far you have to go back to Cam Newton’s MVP year. He drove the Panthers to a 15-1 season, which culminated in an appearance in Super Bowl 50. Passed for 3,837 yards, 35 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. I say just, because this is three Interceptions lower than any other year in his career. He also used his hulking frame to rush for 636 yards and find the paint 10 times on the ground. Cam was heroic in this season but ultimately Von Miller and Denver got the better of him and the Panthers in the big dance.
2018 was another electric year for Number 1. Whilst he was taking the mediocre Panthers to the playoffs he managed to rack 3395 yards and 24 touchdowns in the air and 488 yards on the ground adding another 4 touchdowns to his tally. He got an injury that ended his season two games short of the finish line. His pass completion was 67.9% and his Quarterback rating was 94.2. Which was higher than any other season baring his MVP season. Cam was humming for the first half of 2018.
In seasons where Cam has played 16 games, he has never finished outside of the top 5 in Quarterback rankings over the course of a season. Stocks!!! I hear you cry. He’s had two 17th place finishes in the years he didn’t play 16 games. Whilst this is true (I’m discounting 2019 where he played just one game) it still only brings his career average down to just a finish of 7th in Quarterback season-long rankings. Super Cam is an elite Fantasy Football Quarterback as long as he’s healthy.
A New Start
You’ve only got to look at the men in the desert projecting the odds of winning the Lombardi, to see how Cam projects to help out the New England Patriots. With Stidham under centre, the Pats were at a healthy 25/1 to win it all. Cam struts into town and the odds are slashed into 18/1 at time of writing. This pulls them level with the Packers, Eagles and Seahawks.
They also got cut from 10/1 to 8/1 to win the division. This is even without Cam being the named starter. Cam said that he wants to fight for the job and not be handed it. Well, Cam, that’s all very well but you’re an elite talent that’s fresh from nearly a whole year off. I can’t see a way in which he isn’t in the iconic jersey under centre in week one, baring his fitness being poor. Fitness, after all, is Cam’s kryptonite.
Bill Belichick wouldn’t have signed him if he wasn’t right fitness-wise. It just doesn’t make sense to me if they have. What do they gain from it if so? To cover up the Spygate fine and draft pick deduction news that coincidentally dropped on the same day? Seems to big a deal signing Cam to cover that scandal up. After all the Patriots threw a million dollars into the air for the fine and now lose a third-round draft pick. They get so many compensatory picks it hardly matters and who’s to say they won’t get one for Cam if he has a great season and they move on from him.
Stupidly Cheap Contract
The contract is almost a slight on Cam himself. It’s hugely incentive-laden and gives Cam just $550,000 for signing. The rest is roster and performance-based. No wonder Cam wants to fight for his place, it’s all money from here on out if he plays. The Patriots are in cap hell and this deal works perfectly for them but also for Cam. They get an elite talent to replace the GOAT and push for the Trophy once more. Cam gets a shot to reinstate himself in the league as a top tier Quarterback on the perennial playoff makers the Patriots.
We cannot rule out a return to the big stage for the Pats or Cam this season. The Patriots have built a top-flight Defence and Special Teams units who were planning to run the ball enough to control the clock and stifle teams into losses. Cam changes this by giving them a weapon under centre to make huge plays through the air or with his legs.
Let’s be real for one second here, Cam is older and his body has broken down in a big way before. What’s to say it doesn’t happen again? I trust Bill and the Patriots to have made the right call. Bill wants another shot to prove he can do it without Brady, just like Tom wants to prove he doesn’t need the Patriot way and Belichick. If Cam is fit. Watch out.
Man, I’ve struggled with this. I know I just said Cam is a top 5 talent when healthy but can he get there in New England? Of course, he can and might but I’m a little uneasy trying to project him. He won’t use his legs as much, this I believe will be because the Pats want to keep him fit. Sure he will still scramble from time to time and will be a threat on the goal line but I can’t see him being used as much as in the past. I think 450-500 rushing yards is a realistic outlook here.
I can see a year where he passes for 3750-3800 yards and between 19-23 touchdowns. But I can also see a year where he passes for 4200 years and 25-27 touchdowns if things regress slightly on defence and Cam needs to go out and win the games off his back. He has the ability to sure, will they use him that way? Is he the Cam of old enough to be able to do it?
We don’t know the answers to these questions at all. Does Billy B? Probably, but heck, we won’t know until the curtain drops in the preseason if there even is one. I think when all is said and done I’ll have him around the QB12 range when I stat out the Patriots in my next round of rankings edits. To see all my rankings before the season draws near, you’ll need to purchase the Fantasy Football Playbook by clicking here. I may even have him higher if I’ve had an IPA or two.
Wrapping It Up
Will it be Stidham or Newton under the lights in Foxborough come week one? I can’t wait to find out but my guess now would be Cam. Either way, the enigmatic Quarterback will inject some much-needed pizazz into the Patriots locker room. Will he fall into line and adopt the Patriots way? We can’t say for sure, but I feel he knows he has to, to get back into the league as a starter. The league is more fun with Cam in it and I’m glad he’s back in the NFL. The Football Gods have written some incredible stories before and a Patriots Vs Buccaneers Super Bowl wouldn’t surprise me at all after this offseason one little bit.
Until next week Rush Nation, Keep Rushing