Patriots

Devin McCourty explains why Cam Newton is a strong fit for Patriots

Devin McCourty explains why Cam Newton is a strong fit for Patriots

When Cam Newton first became a free agent, many experts couldn't imagine him coming to the New England Patriots. He'd never get along with head coach Bill Belichick, they said.

But Newton is on his way to New England after reportedly signing a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the Patriots on Sunday night. And his new teammates believe the 31-year-old quarterback can thrive in Belichick's system, which is more flexible than often perceived.

Reacting to the Newton news Sunday night on their "Double Coverage" podcast, Patriots defensive backs and twin brothers Devin and Jason McCourty envisioned how they see their new QB fitting with his new club.

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"I always remember Bill saying this every year: ‘Your role will be decided by you,' " Devin said. "I don’t think he will have a role coming in other than just being himself.

"Obviously he has won MVP. He has been to the Super Bowl. With that, he will come with life experience, NFL experience. But I think everyone -- not just in the quarterback room, but everyone on the team -- can benefit from him and I think that comes from him just being who he is."

As for the perception that Newton's outsize personality will rub Belichick the wrong way? Devin believes that's a lazy narrative.

"From the outside looking in, people are always like, ‘This guy' ... We spoke about this weeks ago on the podcast when it first was like Patriots are signing him: Guys come to our team and they are who they are," the Patriots safety said.

"Martellus Bennett has one of the biggest personalities you ever have on a guy and he fit in on our team better than anybody. … I think the big thing for us as veteran guys, guys who are on the team, encourage him, the Adrian Phillips', the Cody (Davis') ... all the new guys that came to just be themselves. That helps our team more than anything."

Newton also has a very different playing style than Tom Brady, who bolted to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason. But Devin is confident that Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels can help the three-time Pro Bowler thrive without asking him to change his game.

"You can’t expect a guy to come being the type of football player he has been without being himself," Devin added. "Offensively, I always leave it up to my man Josh. I think if you watch Cam Newton throughout his career he has been a guy who can throw the ball in the pocket. He’s a guy who can run around.

"Whether it’s him or Stiddy (Jarrett Stidham) -- because Stiddy has good athleticism too -- I think Josh will figure it out do what is best at the quarterback position like he has done. whether it’s with Jimmy (Garoppolo) in there or Jacoby Brissett. He always finds a way to get the best out of the quarterback position. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out."

NFL Rumors: Patriots re-sign undrafted rookie WR Isaiah Zuber

NFL Rumors: Patriots re-sign undrafted rookie WR Isaiah Zuber

The New England Patriots brought one of their undrafted rookies back into the fold on Wednesday.

Isaiah Zuber, a wide receiver out of Mississippi State, reportedly has been re-signed after being cut by the team a week ago.


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Zuber played three seasons at Kansas State before transferring to Mississippi State for his senior season, in which he tallied 14 receptions for 211 yards and two touchdowns. The 23-year-old's best college season came during his junior year, when he had 52 catches for 619 yards and five touchdowns.

The Patriots have had eight players opt out of the 2020 NFL season so far -- including WR Marqise Lee -- thus opening up roster spots for the undrafted free agents who initially were cut. Fellow UDFA receiver Will Hastings also was re-signed by the team shortly after being released.

NFL opt-outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL opt-outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL training camps officially began Tuesday, but there were some notable absences.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season last Friday, citing health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, multiple players have followed suit, continuing a trend across all major North American professional sports of players declining to participate in their seasons as COVID-19 persists in the United States.

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The Patriots especially have felt the impact of this trend: Eight New England players -- including star linebacker Dont'a Hightower -- already have opted out, the most of any NFL team.

Below is a running list of the players who have opted out of the 2020 NFL season, according to reports or team/player confirmations. The list is sorted alphabetically after the Patriots, with the date of the players' opt-outs in parentheses.

New England Patriots

RB Brandon Bolden (July 28)
OT Marcus Cannon (July 28)
S Patrick Chung (July 28)
LB Dont'a Hightower (July 28)
WR Marqise Lee (August 1)
OG Najee Toran (July 27)
FB Danny Vitale (July 27)
TE Matt LaCosse (August 2)

Arizona Cardinals

OT Marcus Gilbert (August 4)

Baltimore Ravens

OT Andre Smith (July 28)
WR/KR De'Anthony Thomas (July 27)

Buffalo Bills

CB E.J. Gaines (August 2)
DT Star Lotulelei (July 28)

Carolina Panthers

LB Jordan Mack (July 28)
LB Christian Miller (August 3)

Chicago Bears

DT Eddie Goldman (July 28)
S Jordan Lucas (August 3)

Cincinnati Bengals

OT Isaiah Prince (July 31)
DT Josh Tupou (July 31)

Cleveland Browns

DT Andrew Billings (August 4)
OL Drake Dorbeck (July 29)
OL Drew Forbes (July 29)
OL Colby Gossett (August 4)

Dallas Cowboys

CB Maurice Canady (July 27)
WR Stephen Guidry (July 28)
FB Jamize Olawale (August 2)

Denver Broncos

OT JaWuan James (August 3)
DT Kyle Peko (July 28)

Detroit Lions

DT John Atkins (July 29)
WR Geronimo Allison (August 2)
C Russell Bodine (August 5)

Green Bay Packers

WR Devin Funchess (July 28)

Houston Texans

DT Eddie Vanderdoes (July 28)

Indianapolis Colts

DB Rolan Milligan (August 5) 
LB Skai Moore (August 4)
DB Marvell Tell (August 5)

Jacksonville Jaguars

EDGE Larentee McCray (August 1)
DL Al Woods (July 31)

Kansas City Chiefs

OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (July 24)
RB Damien Williams (July 29)

Las Vegas Raiders

LB Ukeme Eligwe (August 4)
CB D.J. Killings (August 3)
DE Jeremiah Valoaga (August 3)

Los Angeles Rams

OT Chandler Brewer (July 31)

Miami Dolphins

WR Allen Hurns (August 4)
WR Albert Wilson (August 5)

Minnesota Vikings

NT Michael Pierce (July 28)

New Orleans Saints

TE Jason Vander Laan (July 28)
TE Cole Wick (July 28)

New York Giants

CB Sam Beal (August 5)
WR Da'Mari Scott (August 2)
LT Nate Solder (July 29)

New York Jets

OL Leo Koloamatangi (July 28)
LB C.J. Mosley (August 1)

Philadelphia Eagles

WR Marquise Goodwin (July 28)

San Francisco 49ers

WR Travis Benjamin (August 4)

Seattle Seahawks

OG Chance Warmack (July 27)

Tennessee Titans

OL Anthony McKinney (July 28)

Washington Football Team

DT Caleb Brantley (July 27)
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (August 3)

Free Agents

G Larry Warford (July 28)