The Patriots haven't ruled out re-signing Newton, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic. The QB -- who earned $3,956,250 in 2020, including incentives -- is slated to become a free agent this offseason. For his part, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says that his gut feeling is that there's about a 25 percent chance Newton will be retained. Following a 2020 campaign in which Newton did plenty of damage as a rusher but struggled to produce consistently as a passer, it remains to be seen what sort of offers he'll command in free agency. While Howe suggests that it's thought that the Patriots will "initially seek other alternatives," it's possible they'll entertain the idea of bringing back Newton if they believe that a healthier version of the former NFL MVP "can be better with more help around him." New England has the 15th overall pick in this April's draft, and if the team elects to choose a quarterback with that selection or one later on in the process, then considering a veteran bridge option such as Newton (under reasonable financial parameters) could make sense for the franchise.
Newton completed 21 of 30 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday's 28-14 win over the Jets. He also rushed 11 times for 79 yards and caught a 19-yard touchdown pass thrown by wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. Newton snapped a three-week passing touchdown drought with a seven-yard score to James White on the opening drive, then added touchdown passes to Devin Asiasi (26 yards) and Sony Michel (31 yards) in the fourth quarter for his only multi-touchdown passing performance of the season. He finishes his lone season in New England with 2,857 yards and a putrid 8:10 TD:INT through the air, though Newton also chipped in 12 rushing touchdowns, which marked his highest total since he tallied14 as a rookie in 2011. The 31-year-old quarterback will be hard-pressed to win a starting job next season given his ineptitude as a passer, though it remains to be seen where he'll land as an unrestricted free agent.
Coach Bill Belichick relayed to WEEI on Tuesday that he believes Newton will start Sunday's season finale against the Jets. "Yeah, I would imagine," Belichick said. "We're going through that now. We'll see." The statement wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement of Newton, who completed five of 10 passes for 34 yards and rushed four times for 24 yards and a touchdown during Monday's blowout loss to the Bills. Jarrett Stidham eventually replaced Newton in the third quarter but didn't fare well himself, with 44 yards on 4-for-11 passing. The Patriots are out of the playoff picture and have no investment in Newton beyond this season, while Stidham is a 2019 fourth-round pick of the club. Still, when Newton has been healthy, the team hasn't wavered from starting him, and Belichick seems resigned to doing the same Week 17.
Newton completed five of 10 passes for 34 yards and rushed four times for 24 yards and a touchdown in Monday night's 38-9 loss to the Bills before being replaced by Jarrett Stidham. Newton had a potential touchdown dropped on New England's opening drive, but then responded with a nine-yard touchdown scramble during the second quarter. Aside from that play however, the signal-caller again struggled mightily to move the ball, resulting in Stidham entering the game a couple of drives into the third quarter. At this stage, it wouldn't be surprising if Stidham were to start Sunday's season finale versus the Jets, but Newton's status should be monitored throughout the week to gauge his value nonetheless.
Newton remains on track to start Monday night's game against the Bills, barring a late change in plans, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports. Per ESPN's Mike Reiss, Newton's Week 16 status, and "the possibility of the Patriots turning to backup Jarrett Stidham, came into sharper focus" after the team was eliminated from the playoffs last weekend. In 13 games this season, Newton has recorded 2,381 passing yards to go along with a 5:10 TD:INT ratio. Meanwhile, his fantasy utility has been aided by the fact that he's logged 122 carries for 489 yards and 11 rushing scores. While Newton remains the team's expected starter versus Buffalo, with New England 6-8, it's possible that the team may still decide to give Stidham some snaps Monday, depending on the flow of the game.
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