What do we make of Cam Newton not being named the starter already?

Cam Newton, New England Patriots. (Photo by Steven Senne-Pool/Getty Images)
Cam Newton, New England Patriots. (Photo by Steven Senne-Pool/Getty Images) /

Cam Newton will end up beating out Jarrett Stidham for the starting job.

It’s really only a matter of time before Cam Newton edges out Jarrett Stidham for the starting quarterback job of the New England Patriots. Newton is simply more talented, more proven and more dynamic than his fellow Auburn University alum. Yet, even with Stidham’s inconsistencies in camp, as well as injuries, why hasn’t Newton ascended to the top of the depth chart going away?

The Fantasy Footballers don’t seem to get it either. The longer the Patriots keep splitting reps in camps with the ones between Newton and Stidham, the worse it might be for New England at the start of the year. By not having a single preseason game, this hurts a team like the Patriots who are in the midst of a quarterback competition, albeit a grossly one-sided one in Newton’s favor.

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New England may have more invested in Stidham than the the Patriots do with Newton. They used a fourth-round pick on Stidham out of Auburn in the 2019 NFL Draft, while they got Newton to sign with them for pennies on the dollar with a one-year contract. While it is a prove-it year for both quarterbacks, what team signs Newton without every intention of having him be the starter?

What is the advantage to not giving Cam Newton the starting job already?

The advantage to not giving Newton all the first-team reps could be as a way to keep Stidham’s declining trade value from fully plummeting. Keep in mind the Patriots have a proven backup quarterback and stop-gap starter Brian Hoyer as the third-stringer waiting in the wing. Frankly, he might have more trade value than Stidham at this point because you know what you’re getting.

Conserving Newton during camp might be a way for the Patriots to help him work his way back from injury, too. It could also be done as a decoy to mess with the heads of their AFC East rivals and the rest of the AFC conference. If the Patriots can keep up the charade of who’s starting for them Week 1, it might end up being the most Belichickian thing they do all offseason.

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Ultimately, Newton has to win out over Stidham because he gives the Patriots dual-threat play-making abilities that Stidham cannot offer. Gus Malzahn asked both of them to run a good bit in college. One won a national championship, while the other won only an SEC West title. Though Stidham could be serviceable as the starter, New England can win the division again with Newton.