Newton started 15 games for the Patriots, but threw for just 2,657 yards and a 8/10 TD/INT ratio.
New England went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
The Patriots still brought Newton back this offseason, signing him to a one-year, $5 million contract that can max out at $14 million.
Now he is fully entrenched in a quarterback battle against the Patriots’ top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Mac Jones.
These three preseason games are going to be telling for QBs Mac Jones and Cam Newton. Though Cam is expected to be named the week 1 starter, Mac Jones has a real chance to win this job.
— G.T Bobby Thompson (@BThomps81) August 10, 2021
Jones may be the shiny new toy for New England, but Newton is a player who has succeeded immensely in the NFL.
It may have not been pretty last year, but for the Patriots to succeed, they need to give Newton one last shot.
Newton’s Skill Set
Newton might have struggled as a passer last season, but like usual, he shined as a runner.
Through his 15 games, Newton rushed 137 times for 592 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The 12 rushing scores were Newton’s highest total since his rookie season, when he had 14.
Even back in his college days, Newton has always been known for his rushing ability.
Is there a better ‘Heisman Moment’ than this Cam Newton run at Auburn?
— PFF College (@PFF_College) July 20, 2021
In the NFL, he has run for 5,398 yards and 70 touchdowns during his 10-year NFL career.
Newton’s rushing yards are second all-time in NFL history among quarterbacks behind just Michael Vick‘s 6,109.
But for all his work with his legs, Newton has never been a terrible passer in the NFL.
He has thrown for 31,698 yards and a 190/118 TD/INT ratio.
Newton may be getting older, as he enters his age-32 season, but he still has plenty of play-making ability to lead the Patriots to the playoffs.
Newton has seen a solid amount of success in the NFL.
He holds a 75-63-1 regular season record and has appeared in seven playoff games, going 3-4.
While they lost 24-10, Newton led the Carolina Panthers to the 2016 Super Bowl.
He is a three-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro quarterback, he won the 2011 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, and was named 2015’s NFL MVP.
College may be a distant memory when it comes to Newton now, when he was the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner.
Newton’s experience should be one of his best qualities as he looks to earn the starting quarterback role.
He has appeared in 140 regular season games and knows what it takes to get to the postseason.
As the Patriots look to get back into the playoffs, Newton’s pedigree should help him better understand what it takes to get there.
The biggest speed bump in Newton’s road to being the Patriots’ starting quarterback is Jones.
New England selected Jones out of the University of Alabama with the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jones played in 30 games during his time with the Crimson Tide, completing 74.3 percent of his passes for 6,126 yards and a 56/7 TD/INT ratio.
Jones really broke onto the scene as a junior as he appeared in 13 games and completed 77.4 percent of his passes for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, and just four interceptions.
Alabama won the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship.
After declaring for the draft, Jones was ranked as one of the best quarterbacks available.
But as NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein pointed out in his draft profile of Jones, while he succeeds in the accuracy department, he didn’t do much to necessarily move the needle on offense:
“While the production looks great, he has clearly benefited from a wealth of riches up front, in the backfield and at wide receiver. He has a tendency to play with some panic when pressure gets after him and could struggle when things aren’t optimal around him. Jones has good backup to low-end starter potential.”
While Newton is a play-maker, Jones is a much more pocket-oriented passer.
Jones ran for 42 yards in college.
Tom Brady might have been a pocket passer, but he was creative enough to make plays no matter the offense around him.
The Patriots would be smart to let Jones learn behind Newton before throwing him into the fire.
Newton has proven to be one of the best play-makers in the NFL history.
Jones may be too vanilla of a quarterback to succeed with the Patriots immediately.