You read that headline correctly. Despite losing arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history in free agency, the New England Patriots are still, amazingly, legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
That proclamation, however, comes with a big caveat.
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Newly-signed QB Cam Newton must stay healthy and return to his 2015 MVP form before Patriots head coach Bill Belichick begins to make room in the team’s crowded trophy case.
The longtime Carolina Panthers pivot entered free agency this spring with a number of question marks surrounding his health after he had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff before the 2019 season and ended up playing in only two games after he suffered a foot injury during a preseason game against New England last August.
Now Cam is a Patriot and will compete against sophomore QB Jarrett Stidham and 34-year-old journeyman Brian Hoyer for the starting gig.
If healthy, the 31-year-old Newton has the potential to be a force on the field who can bring a new dimension to the Patriots’ offence in the post-Tom Brady era.
Brady is a prototypical pocket passer who guided the Patriots to six Super Bowl titles in his two decades with the franchise, and while Newton can chuck it with the best of them he is more efficient when he is able to utilize his incredible rushing ability as he did in leading the Panthers to the 2015 Super Bowl game.
Belichick’s Patriots still boast one of the best defences in the league, and if Newton can recapture his mojo they will challenge defending champion Kansas City and last year’s top-seeded Baltimore Ravens for the right to play in Super Bowl 55.
Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.
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