Cam Newton pushes back against critics, plans to play in 2021

By Vincent Frank
Dec 20, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) puts on his helmet prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Former NFL MVP Cam Newton just has not been the same since injuries derailed his career back in 2019. Newton is coming off a disastrous one-year stint with the New England Patriots that saw him throw a grand total of eight touchdowns against 10 interceptions in 15 starts.

It’s led to speculation that the 31-year-old Newton is done. Washed. He’s not a starter-caliber quarterback anymore and will likely waste away on the bench should the former No. 1 pick resume his career. At least, that’s what the talking heads are saying Apparently, Newton is not having any of that talk.

Read More: New England Patriots quarterback options: Trade up in the 2021 NFL Draft

Cam Newton pushes back against critics

Cam Newton, Washington Football Team
Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

“Let’s keep it honest, what other options did I have? I intimidate a lot of people. I intimidated the franchise I was at the Carolina Panthers,” Cam Newton said when asked about signing with New England. “People look at me and assume things about me. But I’m from Atlanta, you put me anywhere, and I’m going to figure it out.”

After the Carolina Panthers released him late during free agency last March, Newton’s market was not strong. He ultimately signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Patriots to replace Tom Brady under center. For some reason, Newton also received a ton of flack for that.

An embattled figure during his nine seasons with the Panthers, the jury is still out regarding Newton’s status as a potential starting quarterback next season. With that said, he fully plans to suit up.

Read More: 2021 NFL mock draft: Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots land quarterbacks in 2021 NFL Draft

Cam Newton to play in 2021, thinks he’s a starting quarterback

Will Cam Newton replace Alex Smith in Washington?
Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) looks to pass against the New York Jets during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

“Hell no! I can’t go out like that,” Newton said. “I hear all of that talk. My pride won’t allow me to do it.”

Newton then stated that there’s not 32 quarterbacks in the NFL better than him, hinting that he should be starting when the 2021 season comes calling.

While Newton only threw eight touchdowns last season for the Patriots, he did register 12 scores on the ground. A total touchdown-to-interception ratio of 20-8 is not terrible. Even then, his play left a lot to be desired on a Patriots offense that finished in the bottom six in scoring. It will lead to a divorce between the two after just one season.

Related: Top 40 remaining NFL free agents of 2021

Cam Newton and NFL free agency

Cam Newton, NFL free agency
Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) throws against the New York Jets during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Following the blockbuster Matthew Stafford and Carson Wentz trades, there’s roughly eight teams looking for upgrades at quarterback. We’re not sure any of them would view Newton as an upgrade.

At this point, the three-time Pro Bowler is probably better off waiting until after April’s NFL Draft to figure out what he should do next. Teams that miss out on top-end quarterbacks or find themselves in a pinch could very well come calling to provide competition for training camp.

Perhaps, Newton’s former head coach Ron Rivers with the Washington Football Team kicks the tires on him. Washington didn’t last offseason because it had Dwayne Haskins on the roster. With the former first-round bust now in Pittsburgh, Cam Newton could make sense.