It was assumed when the Panthers signed former MVP Cam Newton that he’d automatically be inserted at the top of the depth chart, given all that he’s accomplished throughout his career.
Not so fast, though, as the situation may be more complex than it initially seemed at first glance.
Newton has suffered a wealth of injuries over the past few seasons, including a Lisfranc issue that forced him to miss the entirety of his 2019 campaign. That’s probably why he remained unsigned after being released by the Panthers for so long, with the Patriots being able to sign him for the league minimum.
On the other side of the fence, however, second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham has yet to have played in an NFL regular-season game. And given that the Patriots are in win-now mode, he probably isn’t the best option right out of the gate.
But the decision as to which quarterback will start under center in Week 1 is still up for grabs, according to head coach Bill Belichick. In fact, veteran signal-caller Brian Hoyer is even in the mix as well, which Belichick recently said on “The Rich Eisen Show.”
“He’s an extremely hard-working player,” he said, as transcribed by Pro Football Talk. “First-guy in, last-one out type of guy. He’s really studied hard and has spent a lot of extra time trying to learn our offense, our communication, our calls, nomenclature and so forth. I’ve been very impressed with that. He’s done a good job of picking it up. He’s a very skilled athlete. We’re just working through it day by day. We have a long way to go.
“We’ve got a very competitive competition at a very competitive position at the quarterback spot. It will be interesting to see how everybody does.”
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) August 24, 2020
It seems like more of a smokescreen from Belichick than anything, as we believe it’s Newton’s job to lose — if he’s healthy — in Week 1.