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Cam Newton faces uncertain offseason after Patriots flop

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Cam Newton wants to sign with a team early in the offseason, but will any team want to sign him that quickly?

The former NFL MVP waited out free agency last offseason and joined the New England Patriots in July, after he missed all of the spring meetings. This year, he wants his situation settled in March during the first wave of signings.

“That’s definitely going to go into consideration,” Newton said on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” in Boston. “I’m not going to wait [until] the latter part of another season when I have an opportunity to do something or sign with someone. I think I put myself at a disadvantage [with] that. You just live and learn.”

But it’s hard to see a line of suitors for Newton, 31, after a career-worst year of 177.1 passing yards per game and just eight passing touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He averaged 4.3 yards per carry and rushed for 12 touchdowns, but even as he played 15 games (with one missed due to COVID-19), he far from put to rest the shoulder and foot injury questions that lingered last offseason after he was cut by the Carolina Panthers.

So, would he be a backup?

“Honestly, it’s too early to tell. That’s as honest as I can be,” Newton said. “Do I think I have starting talent? Absolutely. Do I think a lot of things that I’ve done were devalued? Not the team’s perspective, probably the media’s perspective. Absolutely.”

Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were among the veterans who learned last season that there are a shrinking number of starting jobs in the NFL. Newton beat out Jarrett Stidham to win the job as Tom Brady’s replacement, but the Patriots are reportedly looking to go in another direction as Brady leads the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into the playoffs.

Cam Newton
Cam Newton
Getty Images

“I know out of 32 guys, I’m not the 32 position rank,” Newton said. “So you have to also understand, I’m a competitor first. I know what my skill set is, I know what my talent is. I understand that if given the opportunity, there is nobody better than me. That’s how I’ll always feel. I have to also feel realistic about the opportunity that is presented as well.”

So, again, would he be a backup?

“If you are asking me, ‘Do I want to be a backup?’ Hell no!” Newton said. “When I look at other teams, and I’m looking at other players play, there have been guys that have been getting away with murder for years because of subpar play. Do I have the right to say that with the year I had this year? No. But I’m going to be honest and say it because that’s what I do.”

Newton’s last Pro Bowl season was 2015, though he was playing at a high level before injury in 2018.

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