Image Credit: (David Butler II /USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
Welcome to all who are reading this article to another part of my writing series called The Stunning Cut. If you did not read my Jachai Polite article, The Stunning Cut is where I talk about a release made in the pre-season or in the middle of the season that stunned a lot of people when the cut was released. For this article, I decided to do one from last year where everybody could not believe one player got released. That man was QB Cam Newton, who was once one of the faces in the NFL during his Carolina days, but his time in New England was a strange one. Especially when it was announced during the final cut day that the Patriots decided to part ways with Newton.
Who is Cam Newton?
Cam Newton of course was the 1st overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and he was chosen by the Carolina Panthers. He became a transcendent franchise QB who helped the Carolina Panthers every season. Once the team got built better they were in the playoffs and the Panthers even represented the NFC in Super Bowl 50. But ever since Carolina lost that game it has all been downhill from there. Injuries continued to add up for Cam and it resulted in him suffering a ton of regression. Carolina and Newton decided to part ways with each other, which was not surprising as the Panthers wanted to rebuild. So with Cam a free agent for the first time in his career the team that gave him a chance was the New England Patriots. This was made because Tom Brady had departed the team and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So Newton performed during the 2020 NFL Season and it was clear he was still dealing with a shoulder issue. It seemed like his arm strength was gone and with his poor performance, the Patriots finished 7-9 for the 2020 NFL Season. The Patriots decided to give Cam Newton another shot by signing him to yet another 1-year deal. He along with Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham were projected to battle for the starting role. Then the 2021 NFL Draft came and the Patriots had the 15th pick in the draft and selected Mac Jones. He was going to be the guy long-term starting as the QB. Newton, since he knew the system and was brought back, was projected as the starting QB while Mac Jones learned the system.
Final Cut Day
Well, that was the case for Cam Newton. At the end of the 2021 Preseason, teams were starting to reveal who was on the cut list. While I was reading the report for the Jets, I saw a notification on my phone that the New England Patriots have released Cam Newton. I just could not believe it as Newton started a large chunk of the 2020 NFL Season and I thought he would have been a great person for Mac Jones to study from while learning the playbook. At the time I thought New England would get rid of Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham. Hoyer is older but has not been great since he left the Houston Texans in 2015. For Stidham, I thought he was next to go as he was horrendous in the preseason. What stunned me the most was that it was clear that Newton’s arm was never going to recover. I mean I knew his arm strength was gone last year, but I had a feeling that maybe his arm needed another year to fully heal up, and now with this season it is no longer the case.
The Aftermath of Newton Getting Cut
For the New England Patriots, with Cam getting cut they decided to turn to Mac Jones as the week 1 starter. It turns out to have worked and Jones performed well in his rookie season. The Patriots went 10-7 and made it to the playoffs. Unfortunately, they were eliminated in the first round by the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots made the right move making the stunning cut for Cam Newton. That's how Bill Belichick operates by making moves that can be stunning at times, but they always work. I mean the guy is a genius despite his dark arts of coaching.
For Cam Newton, it has not gone great for him since he left New England. It took a few months before he signed with a team, but Carolina came calling and signed him to a contract. He was mainly signed due to Sam Darnold suffering another injury and the team also wanted to sell more tickets to games as the season was yet another disappointment. Cam showed flashes, especially in games against the Arizona Cardinals and Washington Football Team. But his arm strength is completely gone and he looked rough at points in his second stint in Carolina. The Panthers chose to not re-sign him. I really am not sure if Cam will ever play in the NFL as he just is not the guy he was in 2015. Looking back I had so many memories of Cam during his prime and it's just a sad decline to see where his career is now.