What if Cam Newton doesn’t even play a snap for the New England Patriots?
On FS1’s First Things First Wednesday morning, former NFL head coach Eric Mangini thinks that not only is a there chance Newton doesn’t start Week 1 for the Patriots, but he might not even be on the roster. Newton does have to compete with veteran Brian Hoyer and second-year pro Jarrett Stidham for playing time on his dirt cheap, incentive-laden one-year contract with New England.
“There’s absolutely a chance Cam Newton doesn’t start Week 1,” said Mangini. “There’s a chance that Cam Newton isn’t on the roster Week 1.”
Could Cam Newton be cut by the Patriots before the start of the season?
Mangini cut his teeth as a top defensive assistant on Bill Belichick’s coaching staff in the early 2000s. He parlayed that into a three-year run as the head coach of the New York Jets from 2006 to 2008, following that up with another unimpressive two-year stint with the Cleveland Browns from 2009 to 2010.
Though it’s been over 15 years since Mangini was in the Patriots’ building, he does hit on a few interesting points in his argument. He says the $550,000 Newton signed on his incentive-laden contract is “a rounding error” for an NFL team like the Patriots. All the risk on this contract is being assumed by the former NFL MVP, not the Evil Empire.
Not only do the Patriots need to see if he is fully healthy, but they also need to see if he buys in fully to The Patriot Way. Newton missed the last 14 games of the 2019 season with a Lisfranc injury as a member of the Carolina Panthers. Mangini mentioned The Patriot Way “is not for everyone.” Even great players can struggle to adapt to the all-in football culture in Foxborough.
Should we expect Newton to be cut before the start of the season? Probably not, as he can do things with the football Hoyer and Stidham can’t even dream of. Newton’s personality may be a little much for some people to handle, but he works his tail off and there are few quarterbacks you’d want to be under center or in the ‘gun when things are going well for your team.
Mangini could be onto something, but it still feels like Newton is starting Week 1 for the Patriots.