Several analysts have predicted recently that the New England Patriots will be aggressive in trying to land one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, but Bill Belichick may be more comfortable with the team’s current QB situation than many believe.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Thursday that the Patriots are still in the quarterback market, but he made it a point to note that the Patriots believe Cam Newton will be better in 2021 than he was last season. Newton signed with New England late in what was already an unusual offseason due to the pandemic. He then tested positive for COVID-19 and missed some valuable time during the regular season.
“They believe Cam Newton will get a better, fairer shake this season over last season, which I think might reduce some of the urgency,” Schefter said, via WEEI’s Ryan Hannable. “I still think they are in the quarterback market. If they can get the right guy at the right (price) they certainly would.”
It’s also worth noting that Newton had arguably the worst supporting cast in football last year. The Patriots have signed the two top tight ends on the market in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. They also added starting-caliber wide receivers by signing Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. It would make sense if Belichick wants to see what Newton can do with some actual weapons and a full offseason.
Schefter went on to note that Belichick has never traded up in the draft for a quarterback. He has only traded up four times in total. Of course, it was never really necessary to trade up for a QB with Tom Brady leading the way.
A report last month claimed the Patriots do not view Newton as their starter. We also know that they have kept their eye on one specific veteran QB, so they probably feel Newton is plan 1B. If they thought he had no good football left in him, they would not have brought him back.