The New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked if he felt he failed Cam Newton in 2020 by not surrounding him with enough weapons. The response to the question and the subsequent takes have created a bit of an ultimatum for the 2015 NFL MVP, at least according to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi.
During Belichick’s meeting with the media on Thursday, Giardi asked him if the free-agent money spent on so many offensive weapons like Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, etc., was to make up for not giving Newton enough weapons to succeed last season.
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According to Giardi, Belichick “side-stepped” the question. However, he did say, “the goal of the offseason is to just become a better football team, and we feel like we did that, but that’s the goal every single offseason, is to do things like that.”
Giardi added, he’d spoken with people inside the Patriots organization who felt he didn’t get a fair chance to succeed because of a lack of resources. Now that New England has done that, Giardi says there are no excuses.
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“It’s on Cam now,” Giardi said. “We’ve given you what you need to do, you gotta go do it. If you don’t, whether it’s Jarrett Stidham, or someone in the draft, we’ll replace you.”
Here is a look at Giardi’s report in a post from his Twitter account.
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) April 15, 2021
How Will That Affect the Patriots in the Draft?
The Patriots are likely comfortable with Newton as their starter in 2021. There might be a slight chance for Stidham to make a serious move in training camp if Newton is hurt or regresses by some stretch. Barring an injury or regression of skills, Newton should still be QB1.
That said, the Patriots still probably don’t see Newton as their long-term solution (meaning three to four years). The only way that changes is if he plays so well in 2021 and remains healthy enough that the team begins to believe he might continue to play at a high level for multiple seasons.
As of now, there’s no reason to think the Patriots are willing to bank on that scenario. If they were leaning in that direction, they might have re-signed him for more than one season. Because there is no confidence in Newton being the starter beyond 2021, at least not right now, New England has to address the QB position in the draft.
For the Patriots, it will come down to value. They will not become so obsessed with one player that they’re willing to mortgage insane amounts of draft assets to get into a position to take any one guy.
Expect the Patriots to draft a QB, but the talk of moving up to No. 4 and giving up two first-rounders and more to do it is probably a little too wild of a concept.
Others Believe Newton Didn’t Get a Fair Shake as Well
Some Patriots members insisted that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels held Newton back by not conforming the offense to the quarterback’s strengths. Former NFL player and Fox Sports Speak for Yourself’s Marcellus Wiley felt the circumstances surrounding Newton’s first year with New England are the factors that held him back. He called the 2020 struggles a “one-time thing.“
Wiley predicts Newton will have a much better season with more weapons and a full year in the team’s system. Belichick seems to be banking on Newton’s improvement–at least for this season.