A day after the Patriots defeated the Jets, 28-14, to wrap up the regular season, Cam Newton said he hasn’t discussed his future with coach Bill Belichick.
“No we haven’t,” Newton said on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” Monday. “That’s what I’m saying. How could I report something that I haven’t even talked to ‘Dollar Bill’ about?”
Newton, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent, was unable to lead New England to a playoff appearance, with the Patriots finishing 7-9 after 19 consecutive winning seasons.
His rocky performance resulted in just eight passing touchdowns and 10 interceptions, although he did tie the franchise record for rushing TDs by a quarterback with 12. New England finished 27th in the league in both points and yards.
The 31-year-old former MVP was asked extensively about his future with the Patriots and in the NFL. Here are the takeaways:
He knows speculation will swirl
Though he noted it’s too early to know any of the details, Newton acknowledged that the speculation would persist anyway.
“I’m in a lose-lose, however you want me to come off, then that’s what it’s going to sound like,” said Newton. “ ‘Well, is he saying that he’s done playing? Is he saying he doesn’t want to be here?’
“All I’m saying is it’s a lot of factors that have to go in that hasn’t happened yet just because we just played.”
Yet when asked how he felt about potentially coming back to play with the Patriots next season, Newton had a one-word response.
Would he accept a backup role?
Newton said it’s “too early to tell, and that’s as honest as I can be” when it comes to possibly accepting a role as a backup on an NFL team.
“Do I think I have starting talent? Absolutely,” he said. “Do I think a lot of things that I have done were devalued in not the team’s perspective, probably the media’s perspective? Absolutely. Do people care about my feelings? Absolutely not, so it is what it is.
“I understand what professionalism is, I understand it’s heavily scrutinized, and there’s only 32 of us. This is not for the weak-hearted, and I understand that, and I just need some time to myself to really reevaluate this whole situation.”
The topic of potentially taking less money to stay with the Patriots came up, whether it would be as a starter or perhaps mentoring a younger quarterback.
“I’ll put it like this: You can’t put that ‘I’m all about money’ label on me,” Newton said. “Obviously you guys know what I made this year. So I wasn’t in Forbes.”
But Newton is confident he is among the top QBs in the game.
“I know out of 32 guys, I’m not the 32nd position rank in that position,” he said. “So you have to also understand I’m a competitor first. I think the highest of myself first as any person would and should. 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 will always feel.
“I have to also feel realistic about the opportunity that is presented as well. So who knows if it takes being a backup?”
Of course, the former No. 1 pick emphasized that he doesn’t want to be on the second string.
“If you’re asking me do I want to be a backup, hell no,” Newton said. “Because when I look at other teams and I look at other players play, there have been guys that have been getting away with — I feel — murder for years because of subpar play.
“Do I have the right to say that with the year that I had this year? No, but I’m going to be honest and say it because that’s what I do.”
He identified one positive from the season
Newton is grateful he made it through the 2020 season healthy. He suffered no announced football injuries, but did contract COVID-19, which kept him off the field for one game.
“I’m always the one to find some type of positive in the process,” said Newton. “My one positive from it all … was I finished the season healthy. I know all reports going into this year was, ‘Is he healthy? Is he this? Is he that?’
“And my body feels like I wanted it to feel, as I hoped it would feel from [my] shoulder, from my foot, and even a stint from the oblique. That’s a success in my book however.”
Newton said he knows the goal was the playoffs, but personally, staying injury-free was an intention of his.
“I didn’t want to be harboring over an injury as I have been in the last couple of years,” he said.
Newton is also looking forward to what he calls his first “healthy offseason” in five or six years.
“I’m going to make the most of it,” he said. “I have to obviously work on my mechanics. I have to obviously throw the football sooner rather than the latter part of last year.”
He wants to figure out free agency earlier
The Patriots didn’t sign Newton until June last year, leaving less time for him to acclimate in already challenging conditions.
As he enters another offseason of free agency, Newton intends to avoid a repeat.
“That definitely is going to go into consideration,” Newton said. “I’m not going to wait in the latter part of another season when I have the opportunity to do something or sign with someone. And I think I put myself at a disadvantage in that. But yeah you just live and learn.”
He’s excited to reunite with his children
Since moving to New England, Newton hasn’t been able to spend time with his children.
Asked how quickly he would leave Boston with the season over, he offered some insight into his parenting.
“Immediately; I haven’t seen my kids in three months,” said Newton. “I’m the dad who takes their kid to day care. I’m the dad that is the screamer in the bleachers. I’m the dad that looks forward to giving their kids baths at night, reading them bedtime stories, making the wack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and forcing them to eat it because daddy can’t cook, and waiting on Postmates to pull up.
“I’m the dad that really takes serious a football session and am tackling them as hard as I can but also kissing their little boo-boos after they get scraped by a tackle by dad.
“I’m a hands-on dad, and when you negate that from a man, it weakens him to say the least,” Newton explained, adding that he’s “just looking so forward to me playing hide-and-seek when I see my kids. You have no idea.”
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