Former MVP quarterback Cam Newton is still looking for a new NFL team, and he has made a business decision he hopes will expedite that process. On Saturday, Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reported that Newton is now vaccinated. Garafolo added that nothing is imminent when it comes to Newton signing somewhere, but he has had some communication with teams. Those teams have reportedly been told that Newton is indeed vaccinated.
Newton was released by the New England Patriots right before the start of the regular season. It was a shocking move, as Newton was considered the favorite to be Bill Belichick's starting quarterback. Some hypothesize this had to do with the saga that occurred in the preseason when Newton was forced to miss a few practice sessions due to a "misunderstanding" of the league's COVID-19 protocols.
Back in August, Newton left town for a team-approved medical appointment. He conducted daily COVID tests away from NFL facilities, and was subject to a five-day entry process before being allowed to rejoin the team.
"To find out I had to sit out, that's when I kinda felt bamboozled, because y'all told me to go," Newton later said.
The misstep was never explained, but this would have been avoidable had Newton been vaccinated. According to Mike Giardi of the NFL Network, this incident left the Patriots frustrated internally. Giardi even said at the time that it may open a window for rookie quarterback Mac Jones to secure the starting job -- something that in fact did happen.
Newton's vaccination status was not the sole reason he was cut by the Patriots, but it could be a big reason why he's still on the open market. The league has established their protocols in a way that encourages all players to receive the shot. This was certainly a good step forward when it comes to Newton signing another contract, but it does not guarantee anything.