Nobody would deny the notion that Newton underwhelmed last season.
However, him receiving another contract proves the Patriots believe extenuating circumstances contributed to his shortcomings
Given how unwatchable Newton was at times in 2020, there was speculation he’d have to settle for a backup job this year. So, after he signed his new deal with the Pats, you could imagine the outpouring of love he received from stars around the league.
With that in mind, it shouldn’t surprise fans that one of the Patriots’ marquee signings from this offseason, edge rusher Matt Judon, is a firm believer in Newton.
In fact, when asked about which player on the Patriots he’s most excited to play with, Judon was quick to utter Newton’s name.
Patriots edge rusher Matt Judon is ecstatic to play with Cam Newton.
“Super Cam (Newton), excited to play with him,” Judon said during an “Ask Me Anything” segment for Bleacher Report. “Growing up watching what he did in college to becoming an NFL MVP and leading his team to the Super Bowl. They barely lost. What he meant for QBs at the time, it was just incredible what he did.”
This quote proves superstars still believe in Newton, and that’s the way it should be given his track record in the league.
Injuries ultimately derailed his final season in Carolina, but Newton was an absolute world-beater in 2018. That year, he completed 67.9% of his passes for 3,395 yards and 24 touchdowns to 13 interceptions in just 14 games, adding 488 yards and four scores on the ground.
Fast forward to last season, and the cards were stacked against the former MVP from the beginning of his Patriots tenure. For starters, he signed just a few weeks before the start of training camp and tested positive for COVID-19 after a promising start to the campaign, which forced him away from the team for two weeks.
After that diagnosis, he looked like a shell of the QB he was early on in the season.
Throw in the fact that Newton looked to be feeling the effects of his shoulder surgery — there’s just no way he regressed THAT much as a passer in a one-year span — and was throwing to the consensus worst wide receiving corps in the NFL, and it was going to take a herculean effort from him to flourish in his first year in Foxborough.
While we aren’t expecting Newton to return to his 2015 form (when he enjoyed one of the most dominant seasons of any quarterback in NFL history), it’s reasonable to assume we see a version of the borderline Pro Bowler he was for Carolina in 2018.
Based on Judon’s comments, it’s clear he’s setting the bar high for Newton, too.