Cam Newton: 'Hell Yes' I'm Open to Patriots Return in 2021 NFL Free Agency

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IFebruary 22, 2021

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton celebrates his touchdown catch of a pass thrown by wide receiver Jakobi Meyers during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

After leading the New England Patriots through their worst season since 2000, quarterback Cam Newton is willing to try again in 2021.

Appearing on the I Am Athlete podcast with Brandon Marshall, Chad Johnson and Fred Taylor, Newton didn't rule out a Patriots return as he readies to explore free agency (h/t Field Yates of ESPN). 

Field Yates @FieldYates

Cam Newton when asked on the "I Am Athlete" podcast by @FredTaylorMade whether he would be open to return to the Patriots: "Yes. Hell yes." Asked by @BMarshall if there is a chance he returns: "There's always a chance for everything." Full interview: https://t.co/Z1w3Q7SVLe

As for his on-field results in 2020, Newton also offered up an explanation. He averaged 238 passing yards per game as the Patriots went 2-1 to start the year, but Newton was then sidelined following a positive test for COVID-19. 

When he returned, his numbers took a dive, with an average of just 161.9 passing yards through the last 12 games of the season. New England missed the playoffs and finished 7-9. 

In addition to the time away from the team while he went through the league's COVID-19 protocols, Newton admitted on the podcast that he was stepping into a big role as the replacement for legendary quarterback Tom Brady, who led the Patriots to six Super Bowls before winning his seventh with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season (h/t Kevin Patra of NFL.com): 

"By the time I came back, I didn't feel comfortable physically, skillfully. A lot of that discomfort came pre-snap. I'm lost. I'm thinking too much. ... The offense kept going, and I was stopped and stagnant for two weeks. By the time I came back, it was new terminology. ... I wasn't just trying to learn a system for what it was, I was learning a, let's be honest, 20-year system in two months."

The Patriots have two quarterbacks rostered heading into 2021—Jarrett Stidham, who has appeared in eight games and has yet to start since the team drafted him out of Auburn in the fourth round in 2019—and Jake Dolegala, who spent the year on the practice squad and signed a futures contract this offseason.

There's certainly room on the roster for Newton to return, but with an active quarterback carousel this offseason, head coach Bill Belichick will have plenty of options to find his future signal-caller.