Cam Newton Rumors: Patriots Worried More About QB's Shoulder Than Foot Injury

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 20, 2020

New England Patriots fullback Jakob Johnson (47), quarterback Cam Newton (1) wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) and tight end Devin Asiasi (53) stretch during an NFL football training camp practice, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

Cam Newton's comeback attempt has drawn plenty of attention around the NFL as the former Carolina Panthers quarterback looks to claim the starting job with the New England Patriots.   

Since he's had a number of injuries over the past few years, observers are closely watching Newton's health—and one area in particular, per CBS Sports' Jonathan Jones:

"Multiple sources I've spoken to have said if they're concerned about any Newton injury, it's his shoulder far more than his foot. Newton had surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury back in December, and that came after months of trying to avoid going under the knife again. His two shoulder surgeries came in March 2017 and January 2019, and I've been closing monitoring his throwing since."

Newton has played 16 total games since the start of the 2018 campaign, including just two last season. 

While that's given plenty of teams cause for concern—indicated by the lack of interest in the former MVP until the Patriots signed him in July—Newton's supporters say that's one reason the quarterback could be in line for a big year.

The time away from the field has given the 31-year-old's body more time to heal than he'd normally get after playing a full season.

Per Jones:

"A source close to Newton pointed out to me the number of hits Newton has saved himself from with his time off. Newton has played in just two regular-season games since mid-December of 2018, so he's more or less had a year and a half off from football. Even in the age where quarterbacks play well into their 40s, I don't think anyone has assumed Newton would make it to that point because of the way he plays the game and the hits he absorbs."

Playing behind stronger protection should also help Newton in that area. The quarterback was sacked at least 29 times in each of his first eight years in the NFL. The Patriots, meanwhile, allowed just 28 sacks last season (sixth-fewest in the league) and only 21 in 2018. 

If that trend continues, and if it allows Newton's shoulder to remain healthy, the Patriots may have found a legitimate replacement for Tom Brady.