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From Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton Faces an Uncertain 2021

The Patriots will not be playing in the postseason for the first time since 2008. The 6-8 Pats will also not finish with a winning record for the first time since 2000. At the center of this failure of a season, at least on the field, is former MVP Cam Newton, who signed a cheap one-year deal with New England in June. What was once seen as a brilliant reclamation project for Bill Belichick and Co. has turned into a nightmare of a season for Newton, who has not played well.

Things won’t get easier in the offseason.

What happened?

Cam Newton has been electric on the ground in 2020, particularly around the goal line. He has ran for 451 yards on 4 YPC and powered in 11 rushing touchdowns. That’s where the positives end for Cam, unfortunately.

From Steven Senne, AP Photo

The knock against Cam has always been his inconsistencies as a passer. These struggles have continued this season, as he’s posted a horrific 1:2 TD:INT ratio. He’s tossed just five scores on the season, and never more than one in a game. Cam has actually been as accurate as he’s ever been, completing a career high 66% of his passes. That hasn’t generated much yardage, however, as he’s thrown for under 175 yards in nine of the 13 games he’s played in. Dinking and dunking has not worked for him.

His 46.3 QBR would be the lowest of the 31-year-old’s career. It’s obvious he doesn’t have much talent to work with in New England, but numbers like these are still unacceptable for a starting QB in the NFL. This season has been an objective disaster for Cam.

What will happen?

Cam Newton could not have picked a worse year to struggle this badly. This was supposed to be a “show me” season, after an injury limited him to two starts in 2019. All he has “shown” teams is that he remains an average-to-below-average passer and an elite running option. Will a team accept that skillset in their starter in 2021?

Like I said, this is an especially bad season to struggle for a QB looking to get his mojo back. Young, talented QBs have propped up all around the league, while a loaded QB draft class waits in wings. How many teams might be interested in Cam’s services next year? A handful, at most.

Assuming Cam wants to be a starter, his best option will probably be as a stopgap QB for a team who just drafted their QB of the future. The Jets, Jaguars, Redskins, and maybe the Falcons and Bears could be interested in a cheap one-year deal similar to the one he received in New England. After that though, his options are probably limited to backup duty.

If this is it…

It feels strange saying a player as dynamic as Cam Newton might be done as a starter in the NFL, but that is the reality he is facing in 2021. He ate some humble pie accepting a one-year deal from New England with a base salary of just $1.05 million. Cam will likely have to eat some more next season.

I do believe #1 still has the ability to be an effective starter in the NFL. Sadly for him though, the NFL’s unofficial slogan is “what have you done for me lately?” For Cam Newton, that answer is “not much.”