Cam Newton has optimism that his second season with the New England Patriots will go differently than his first.
But the quarterback, appearing Thursday on ESPN Radio’s “Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin” show, noted that it’s time to show the reasons why.
“My time there has been everything I could have asked for,” Newton said of the organization. “I guess it’s now time for me to uphold my end of the bargain, through and through, and doing everything I know I’m capable of doing and staying in my wheelhouse. I think that’s what it comes down to.”
The Patriots re-signed the 32-year-old Newton leading up to free agency in March. His one-year contract carries $3.5 million in guarantees to go with a base salary of $1.5 million and a cap charge of $5.423 million, which currently ranks 11th on the roster, according to OverTheCap.com.
Newton’s previous pact with New England did not become official until last July after the team’s virtual offseason workout program. The 2020 season that followed saw the former NFL MVP post as 7-8 record as the starter, missing one game while on the Covid-19 reserve list in the fall.
By January’s finale, Newton had completed 65.8% of his passes for 2,657 yards with eight touchdowns, ten interceptions and a quarterback rating of 82.9. He’d also totaled 592 yards and a dozen touchdowns on 137 rushing attempts.
“I look at everything as competition. I look at last season’s production as competition,” Newton said. “So, yeah, I take it personal. Yeah, I take it in the way that I know who I am. At times, I do remind myself people forget who you are and what you’ve done. I’m in a position now where I need to be my best self and it’s really put-up or shut-up time.”
There’s since been a full spring of familiarity with head coach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and the rest of New England’s personnel. Newton would be in attendance for his share of the reps at organized team activities and mandatory minicamp.
He would be alongside fellow quarterbacks in Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer as well as rookie first-round draft choice Mac Jones out of Alabama.
“I’ve been playing this game long enough to know that that’s the right pick,” Newton said of the arrival at No. 15 overall. “I’ve said it numerous and numerous times that what you’re not going to get out of me is a disgruntled person. ‘Mac and Cheese’ is a person who, ever since I’ve seen him, came on into the locker room with a business approach of doing the initiatives and learning his teammates … I’m here for him as well as he is there for me, just like Stidham, just like Brian Hoyer. It’s no different. Our job is to be the best player that we can possibly be for the New England Patriots. No matter what is asked of us, it’s our job to do that.”
The first practice of training camp behind Gillette Stadium is set for July 28. Newton, a team captain, said he plans to report to the facility six days prior.
“I don’t want to get so caught up in promises and things like that, but I can guarantee you that there’s been a shift in comfort of knowing more,” added Newton. “I think that’s added value in itself.”